The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed A. Adamu, at the post-Presidential/National Assembly elections evaluation meeting with strategic Police managers on March 4, 2019 at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, acknowledged that updated statistics resulting from Presidential and National Assembly elections shows that a total of 323 offenders have so far been arrested for various electoral offences and sundry crimes across the country. He added that two officers also paid the supreme sacrifice, while some others were assaulted and injured.
The Ag, IGP in appreciating the sacrifice made towards the advancement of the democratic journey of the country, sent his heartfelt condolences to the families of officers and men who lost their lives during the exercise and also sympathized with those who were injured or assaulted. He assured that the perpetrators of the acts will be fished out and brought to deserved justice no matter their socio-political status.
IG Adamu said that for those arrested for various electoral infractions, he has directed the Special Electoral Offences Team of the Force to undertake detailed and conclusive investigations into all the cases with a view to liaising with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring their prosecution.
The Inspector general of the Nigeria Police highlighted that the evaluation meeting will focus on three major issues, which included a debrief strategic Police Commanders and undertaking of a comprehensive evaluation of security performance during the Presidential and National Assembly elections held across the country February 23, 2019.
He noted that the evaluation is within the context of the Election Security Strategy of his leadership of the Force which upheld Post-Election Evaluation engagement as one of the critical strands of their plan. “It is designed to highlight our achievements, identify performance gaps, draw lessons and redirect our strategies towards sharpening our capacity to achieve our election security mandate in future electoral engagements,” the IG said.
IG Adamu said the second purpose of the meeting was to perfect plans and allocate operational tasks towards the Governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for 9th March, 2019, while the third objective is to appreciate personnel of the Force across all ranks for their sacrifice, discipline, and exceptional professionalism which was demonstrated during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“The high sense of commitment to national duty, neutrality and courage accounted for the generally peaceful conduct of the exercise as well as the credibility of the entire process as attested to by local and international observers,” the IG noted in part.
Adamu said that while perfecting plans for the governorship and State Assembly elections, he also reassured the country and the international community of the unwavering commitment of the Police to work closely with INEC and sister security agencies towards guaranteeing a peaceful and secure space for Nigerians to exercise their electoral franchise.
“ l must, however, re-emphasize that just as in the recently concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigeria Police shall remain civil, firm, optimally professional and apolitical in the discharge of our duties in the 9th March, 2019 elections. We shall, nonetheless, deploy all lawful assets and assert our statutory powers to deal decisively, firmly, and promptly with any person or groups that may attempt to disrupt the process.
“Therefore, all political actors who might be preparing to threaten the peaceful conduct of the exercise are hereby firmly warned to play the game of politics by the rules as stipulated in the Electoral Act and to appreciate that national interest overrides their personal ambitions. Doing otherwise shall attract the full and appropriate response from the Police and other security agencies,” Adamu declared.
However, contrary the claims of neutrality and professionalism by the IG of Police, the Police, the Army and other security operatives were widely accused of not only compromising their roles, they were alleged to have practically involved in manipulating or providing cover for leaders of the ruling party to manipulate the Presidential and National Assembly elections. The INEC in its assessment also indicted the Police, the Army and other security operatives for the deficiencies in organizing the February 23 elections.