By Archibong Jeremiah
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba has ordered all Commissioners of Police in charge of State Police Commands to promptly activate the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
The directive contained in a press release signed by CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer said it is to enable the engagement of all stakeholders in evolving strategies for mitigating threats to the 2023 General Elections process within their various areas of responsibility.
The release reads: “IGP notes that political violence, hate speech, threats, political intolerance, misinformation, and political extremism are all potential threats to our democracy and national security interests, and therefore urged all State Police Commissioners to work in synergy with other members of the ICCES to reduce occurrence and threats of violence to its barest minimum with swift prosecution of violators of extant electoral laws.
“The IGP has charged all Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands to ensure adequate and strategic deployment of officers and assets, as well as coordinate, deploy, and supervise officers from other security agencies scheduled for election duty, in accordance with ICCES directives, to fortify all facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within their respective areas of responsibility even as electoral materials are being relocated to such facilities, to ensure the safety and security of INEC personnel and materials before, during and after the 2023 General Elections and forestall attacks on INEC facilities.
“Similarly, the IGP has ordered a fresh distribution of gadgets, anti-riot gear, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for Police Officers across the federation in preparation for the 2023 General Election security management duty. The items include non-lethal weapons such as electro-shocks, rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, riot guns, etc. for crowd control and to minimize casualty risk in eventual confrontations with subversive elements.
“The Inspector-General of Police reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to the protection of our democratic heritage and national security interests, while he called on other security agencies and stakeholders who constitute ICCES, as well as members of the public, to deliberately aid the Nigeria Police Force in its drive to ensure the safety and security of all and sundry before, during, and after the 2023 General Elections.”
Relatively, the Cross River State Technical Committee of Vote Not Fight, Election No Be War campaign commended the IGP for the directive to activate ICCES.
The State Team Lead, Mr. Lawrence Peter in a statement to our newsroom said the directive is long overdue. He said, “ICCES is strategic in achieving free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria. As stakeholders, we throw our weight behind the IGP for this timely action.”
He maintained that “we are urging members of the public to open their hearts to the possibility of having leaders that reflect the mandate of the people, if you go and sleep you are giving room for the candidate of your choice not to emerge, so get involved in the process.”
The Vote Not Fight Election No Be War campaign is being implemented by Face Initiative in the South-South.