As political campaigns officially commence, the Plateau State Police Command has cautioned political parties against employing local security outfits to provide security during political activities, stressing the State Police Command has put in place robust arrangements to ensure surficient security and safety during campaigns in the State.
The Command also admonished political parties to abide by the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and play the game by the rules, calling on party leaders and candidates to prevail on their supporters not to engage in any conduct that would incite violence.
The State Commissioner of Police, CP Bartholomew Onyeka who addressed Heads of Security Agencies, the leadership of political parties, State Resident Electoral Commissioner and other stakeholders in an interactive session held on Wednesday in Jos reminded them that a hitch free 2023 general elections can only be possible if all stakeholders play their part in maintaining peace during the campaigns.
In his remark, the CP said, “… Political activities are no doubt associated with lots of problems and challenges that are capable of threatening national security hence there is a need for collective efforts to ensure that campaigns are conducted in the peaceful, serene, conducive and secured atmosphere, devoid of rancor, mischief, misgivings, and thuggery. As the lead internal security agency in the state, it is the primary duty of the Police to ensure that all electoral activities are conducted without any hitch or security threat in any part of Plateau State.
“As the countdown to the Political campaigns draws near, the Plateau State Police Command has put in place robust security arrangements and measures to ensure adequate security and safety for electioneering campaigns and rallies throughout the state. The Police Command is poised to protect and safeguard all venues of campaigns and rallies as well as other INEC-approved electioneering activities and all political parties throughout the state from now to the end of the campaign period for the 2023 general elections.”
“We have also carried out discreet threat assessments and pre-campaigns evaluations and have commenced deployment of our personnel to passive flash points and vulnerable areas to prevent and nip in the bud any form of inter-party frictions, political thuggery, clashes, and acts of lawlessness that can lead to the disturbance of public peace anywhere in the state. This meeting also provides a unique opportunity to dissect current law enforcement realities and engage an all-inclusive approach to re-evaluate our security policing strategies against the backdrop of the dynamics of crime on the Plateau.
“All Political parties are hereby advised to abide by the provisions of Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended) and INEC guidelines and play the game according to the rules. Party leaders and chieftains are to prevail on their flag bearers, members, supporters, and fans not to engage in any act or conduct that can incite violence or constitute a breach of the peace anywhere on the Plateau, before, during, and after the campaigns…”
He added, “Note and be strictly guided by the fact that all quasi-security outfits that were established by the state government and local communities and which are operating under different nomenclatures, structures, and orientations have no legal rules under the Electoral Act, 2022 and within the electoral process.”
“Hence you are charged to ensure that they are not in any way or manner used by any political or community actor for any role during the electioneering campaigns and other electoral processes in the count down to the 2023 general elections.”