By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
Ahead of the federal legislative bye-election in Cross River state, a coalition of civil society organisations, CSOs, has called on the Nigerian Police not to allow itself to be dragged into partisan politics.
It said that the Police should listen to the call by well-meaning Nigerians that they should desist from endangering the nation’s democratic process.
Speaking on behalf of the group in Abuja on Friday, the Executive Director of Tap Initiative for Citizens, Mr Martin Obono, said they had watched the body language of the police and some powerful people in Cross River and saw alleged attempts to shrink the civic space in the state contrary to section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the country.
He said, “The right to vote is sacred and it must be respected by the Governor of Cross River State, the Nigerian Police Force and all other security agencies responsible for conducting free, fair and peaceful elections.
“We call on the rank and file of the Nigerian Police Force to desist from involving itself in activities that will destabilize the progress made in democratic processes so far.
“We also want to use this opportunity to call on the Inspector General of Police to caution his men on election duty to maintain the highest level of professionalism in their conduct.”
In the same vein, the Convener, Adopt A Goal Development Initiative, Mr Ariyo-Dayo Atoye, faulted the State Government’s ban on activities by Civil Society Organizations in Cross River, saying it would encourage a further decline in democratic participation of the people in the state.