The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, on Tuesday warned politicians against misconduct during the 2015 general elections, saying he would not hesitate to deal with any of them who contravene the rules as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
Represented by the Commissioner of Police (Election Planning and Monitoring), Mr. Ghazzali Muhammed, the IG gave the warning during a training workshop for security personnel that would participate in the February elections.
This is just as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said at the event that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some international agencies to assist in identifying factors that would pose threats to the general elections.
The IG said, “We are going to deal with anybody that thinks he is above the law. That is why we say politicians should obey the rule of law. If you (political actors) commit any offence, the agencies here will go back and ensure they cascade what they have learnt here today and you will be arrested and dealt with accordingly; because politicians should play by the rules.
“The only thing is that we are going to deal with anybody that thinks he is above the law. All we are saying is that politicians should obey the rule of the law. We are to make sure that we secure the area as the leading agency for election. We have nothing else to say, other than for them to obey the rule of the law. If they (politicians) don’t obey the rule of the law, we will deal with them in accordance with the law”.
On the number of policemen to be deployed for the 2015 elections, the IG said, “The population of the area depends on the polling units and the security agencies we have around. The CP in the states will be the one to deploy. He knows what is on the ground. When you talk of elections, you have all the states and all the states have CPs, so the CPs will deploy their members”.
Responding to allegations that the police had been partisan in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, the police chief said, “The police can never be partisan, that is why we are here as the leading agency to ensure that we secure the area. If they want the police to be partisan, they (police) would not have been called to ensure the security of election areas. All those that are voting have the party they want to vote for. We are just there to ensure that there is law and order and that every stakeholder plays by the rules”.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, represented by Dr. Ismael Igbani, a national commissioner with the electoral agency, also said, “Since the 2011 general elections, improvements have been made in the electoral policies of the commission, particularly in the area of electoral security, the objective being to ensure a more efficient and hitch-free electoral service delivery in the 2015 general elections.
“Recently, the commission signed an MOU with International IDEA and African Union on the deployment of Electoral Risk Management Tool. The essence is to be proactive in identifying electoral risk factors and be able to mitigate them. Many of the reforms and innovations in the electoral process of the commission have been radically different from what many of us used to know.
“Therefore, it is important that all stakeholders, particularly the security personnel that will protect the process, get to know these measures and be aware about the developments. The security question in the country has widened the scope of electoral security with its attendant challenges.
“The 2015 general elections are a few weeks away. Time is of the essence for the full actualisation of the benefit of this training. The commission is confident that you will carry out your duty on Election Day patriotically, professionally and diligently. The commission remains determined to deliver free, fair and credible elections in 2015”.