BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN – AHEAD of the 2015 general elections, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5, Benin City, Edo State, Mr. Salihu Argungu, yesterday met with leaders of political parties in Edo State, warning that the Police would not hesitate to disrupt any political rally held without a police permit.
He also warned that any police officer involved in an election duty outside his or her operational order would be dealt with. He spoke in Benin City in company of the Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr Folunso Adebanjo, when addressing the political leaders at a meeting.
All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Labour Party were represented at the meeting.
Argungu said that he called the meeting to inform politicians on the need to play according to the rules in order to avoid anarchy in the state.
According to him, the 1999 constitution guaranteed freedom of association and assembly, but that the provisions of the Public Act Laws of 2004, as well as the Electoral Act 2004, as amended, regulated the conduct of rallies, processions and assemblies.
He said: “For the purpose of proper and peaceful conduct of public assemblies, meetings, any person desirous of conveying or conducting such meetings or rallies is required to apply for and obtain permit. In the same vein, where such licence is granted, section 2 of the said Act confers on the Police, power to stop such assemblies, rallies or meetings where they violate any condition of the licence.”
On efforts being made by the Police to train officers ahead of the elections, he said, “Currently, the Inspector General of Police and his management team have sat and discussed the issue of training and retraining of officers. There are many rank and file now in police colleges and institutions undergoing training, so that they will become professionals in the forthcoming election.”
Responding, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Godwin Erhahon, Mr Christopher Adesotu of PDP and others, commended the Police for initiating the meeting and assured that their members would be briefed accordingly in order to avoid unnecessary tension in the state.