By Esther Onyegbula & Victor Arjiromanus
The Nigerian Police have been urged to be more vigilant, operate within established rules of engagement and monitor the activities and conducts of politicians and individuals to ensure strict adherence to electoral principles during elections in the country.
The call was made by the National Coordinator, Network for Police Reform, Nigeria (NOPRIN), Okechukwu Nwaguma at a press briefing themed ‘What the police should do Before, During and After the Elections’.
The National Coordinator said; “As we draw close to the elections, the Acting IGP and his management team should ensure that Zonal and State Commands, and Divisional Officers are vigilant, operate within established rules of engagement and monitor the activities and conducts of political parties, politicians and individuals to ensure that everyone plays by the electoral rules. The police should provide equal security and work with INEC to ensure that anyone who breaches the electoral law during campaigns or during and after the elections is arrested and brought to justice according to the law.”
Continuing, he urged “the police to continue to work with strategic stakeholders (including other security agencies in providing complimentary security services), INEC, civil society especially in the areas of conducting security threat assessment and monitoring the electoral process, and the media.”
Expressing optimism on proficiency of the newly appointed Inspector-General of Police to correct the errors of his predecessor and carry out a meticulous job, Okechukwu said; “Adamu came at a time when public perception of the police and public trust had gone all time low due to the many unprofessional conducts, incompetence and scandalous allegations of corruption and disreputable conduct trailing the immediate past IGP Abubakar Kpotun Idris.
‘The very first acts by the newly appointed IGP portray him as a scrupulous and principled officer who is committed to professionalism and is determined to ‘clean the Aegean stable’, erase the damaging dent put on the image and institutional integrity of the NPF by his corrupt and unscrupulous predecessor.”
Furthermore, he urged the IGP to be fearless and refused to be controlled and intimidated by politicians who may want the police to do their biddings, reminding him that the police are the guardians of the rule of law. “They have the greatest responsibility for safety and security which enables all stake holders to play their various legitimate roles in the electoral process and enable eligible citizens to exercise their franchise in a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere.”