The Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has on Thursday rolled out how the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies planned to tackle electoral violence through information gathering and utilization.
The IGP created this awareness at a meeting with political parties and other stakeholders in preparation for the 2023 general elections at Force headquarters, the IGP said: “We have resolved to enhance intelligence gathering, sharing and utilization of same to stem acts of political violence; upscale the deployment of security teams to all INEC assets and facilities nationwide, with teams drawn from the Police, Nigeria Army, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Civil and Security Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the Federal Fire Services
“Take decisive, lawful action against purveyors of hate speech, incitement to violence, mobilisation of thugs and other violations, including the prompt arrest, investigation, and prosecution of offenders, in line with the provisions of Sections 92 and 93 of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended. Those already arrested will face prosecution.”
The IGP also said: “This meeting with the leadership of the 18 registered political parties in the country became expedient, following a noticeable trend within the national political space which, if not promptly addressed, could evolve into a potent threat to not just our national security but the electoral process.
“Drawing from the experiences of the past, electoral violence, both in the process leading to an election as well as the fall out of elections, has always constituted the most dangerous threat to our democracy. Political violence manifest in three forms.
“First is violence that is targeted at the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as recently witnessed in Ogun and Osun states.
The second form of political violence manifests in the form of inter-party intolerance and violence which often become particularly pronounced during campaigns, elections, and post-elections phases.
“It is on record that not less than 52 cases of such politically-motivated, intra, and inter-party violence have been recorded across 22 states since the official commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general elections on September 28, 2022.
“The last form of political violence relates to the conduct of some state governors who manifest traits of political intolerance which often inflame political tension.”