Says Fake policemen disrupted polls
Tells motorists in South East to report Police extortion to higher authority
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA- THE Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu yesterday said that the Police were aware of the plan by politicians to sow police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polsl in parts of the two States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
Asked his assessment of the performance of police during the election in Bayelsa and Kogi and reaction to the allegations that the policemen aided ballot, he said that even before the elections, there was report that there was going to be violence.
“Before the elections, there was threats assessment of the two states and we realized that there was going to the violence in two states. Because, during the campaigns we saw how the opponents were fighting themselves, so we prepared so much for that. During one of the stakeholders meeting, I went to Kogi with the chairman of INEC and I also went to Bayelsa.
“Even at the point of signing the peace accord to conduct the election without any problems, after signing the peace accord in Kogi, within the hall there was problem by the parties. So we knew that it was not going to be easy and so we had to prepare heavily for the elections.
“During the elections, anybody you saw either in police uniform or military uniform that does not carry the tag that has been given for the election, that person is not genuine police officer or military officer or that he was not on official duty.
“Because, we were aware of the fact that we were told that some politicians were going to sow police and military uniforms, so we devised some other means of identifying those that were on elections duty. We gave them tags.
“There was police helicopter that was hovering, it was on patrol and in the cause of patrol you will see some incidence of maybe people fighting, people trying to snatch ballot boxes. Now, you need to intervene and in the cause of intervention of course you can never use fire arms because during elections we don’t carry firearms.
“So that helicopter you saw was to patrol and scare those that will want to snatch ballot boxes. Of course if you see helicopter hovering over your head you want to snatch ballot box or you have carried, definitely you will know you are being monitored and you will stop. So prevention was our focus with the helicopter.”
On why the Police allowed violence during the elections even with security reports to the police before the exercise, he said, “You see, it depends on the way you choose to interpret. We did our assessment, we knew these things will happen but what we needed to do was plan to prevent it, or if it happens, to arrest. That explains why the number of police we sent to those states were so massive.
“Now, when you get the information and you did your assessment and you did your plan, the bad guys are also planning, and the people we are dealing with here are politicians so, for us to be able to distinguish the bad from the good, one of the strategy was to create a situation that will enable us identify the good ones, genuine personnel.
“Then anyone without identification tag, is a bad guy and then we pick him. They came out as they planned but then, we made some arrests on the spot where we saw them, those that escaped through information and intelligence we also picked them.”
On the number of arrests made in Kogi and Bayelsa, he said, “Well, if you look at the two elections, I think Bayelsa was more peaceful. From the beginning when we were deploying our officers, we had issues in Nembe where some of our policemen were attacked by some hoodlums, two people were arrested and then in Kogi, nine people were arrested.”
On the disagreement between the Police and the Police Service Commission on the ongoing recruitment, he said, “For your information, the recruits are already undergoing their training. The service commission took the police to court and the matter is still in court. Before the court process, the recruits have already reported and are on training and nothing is stopping them. I will stop here before they say the case is in court.”
Also speaking on the alleged extortion of motorists in South East and many police check points, the IGP advised motorists to always look out for the names of the police on road from their name tags and their force numbers and report them to the hierarchy in the area.
He said, “The checkpoints are not the problem but the personnel that are manning it. Visibility policing is very important to prevent crime, so the personnel that are involved are the issues. And that is the more reason why you have to perform your own duty as a citizen.
“ It has been happening to you constantly, so you should be able to identify a leader of the team or any person within the team through his tag or force number. You take it, inform the CP of the command if no action is taken, then you take it further to the AIG zone. If nothing is done then report to me then action will be taken.
“By our structure we have hierarchy where you can make reports. So you know every check point in south east and every police man has his identity either through his force number or his name, pick one out of them and if you report to the CP, he will be able to ask the DPO those he posted there, he has a roaster and you will know and by the time they are invited and you are there, you will be able to identify them. What it means is that you have a role to play in checking corruption.”
On the outcome of the security meeting, he said, “The meeting reviewed the security situation all over the country and we realized that its stable, banditry has been reduced to the nearest minimum, kidnapping has been reduced significantly. The epic center of this kidnapping as you know in the north western part of the country – Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, they are all very calm now.
“The insurgency in the northeast on daily basis they are being degraded and many of the insurgents are surrounding to the authority, they are giving up their arms and for that reason we have been encouraged to sustain the tempo. All the successes recorded that comes from cooperation from members of the public, including the press because most of you have objectively assessed the actual security situation in the country, which your followers agreed to it.
“So, we have been encouraged to continue with the tempo so that insurgency can be greatly eliminated from the country. Politicians and the hunters that have been working with us and other stakeholders, we have been encouraged to work more closely with such group of people so as to have the information that we require, so as to have the support that we require in other to defeat any form of criminality within the country.