…25 members of Ebuebeagu Security Outfit still languishing in prison
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Police Command, yesterday stressed that members of the South East Security outfit code-named Ebubeagu do not have any constitutional backing to enable them to play any role in the 2023 general election in the State.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Aliyu Garba who stated this during a meeting with political parties, Heads of Security Agencies and all Stakeholders involved in the 2023 elections added that 25 members of Ebuebeagu Security Outfit were still languishing in prison for various criminal charges.
Garba noted that the law is no respecter of persons and warned that the police will not fail to arrest anybody who engages in violence before, during or after the elections.
The CP spoke against the backdrop of complaints and petitions by opposition political parties in the State against the activities of the outfit.
Ebubeagu has in recent times been accused of extrajudicial killings, and indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition political parties, among other human rights abuses.
The CP at the meeting reiterated the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali’s stance that Ebubeagu Southeast Security Outfit and all other state government-run security outfits are non State actors and as such have no role to play in the electoral process.
He said:” Sec. 91 of the electoral Act has expressly provided that only the Security Agencies shall have a role to play in the electioneering process as it relates to the conduct of political rallies and procession. The section state and I quote
“The Commissioner of Police in each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, shall provide adequate security for the proper and peaceful conduct of political rallies and processions in their respective jurisdictions and, for this purpose, the Police may be supported by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and any other security agency of the Federal Government”
“The import of the above provision of the Electoral Act 2022 expressly prohibits Non-State Actors especially Ebubeagu to participate in the electioneering process in whatsoever capacity”
“The South East Security Outfit (Ebubeagu) has no role in the electioneering campaign and they are not created for any political purposes rather they are to complement the security architecture of the State with the State Actors”.
“Therefore, no LG Chairman nor political party stakeholders should engage the Ebubeagu bearing arms of whatever calibre for a whatsoever reason as Ebubeagu are not created for their political aggrandizement rather they are to strengthen the security of the State as non-state actors”, he said.
Mr Garba further warned against use of abusive language during the election campaigns by political parties
” Section 92 of Electoral Act 2022 expressly prohibits politicians during political campaigns from making use of slogans tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly so as to avoid any act that will cause a breach of public peace”.
“Therefore anyone found wanting will be dealt with accordingly. As such, the LG Chairmen and all political stakeholders including aspirants are hereby warned and reminded that no one is above the law and anyone who goes contrary to the provision of the extant laws shall be arrested and prosecuted accordingly”, he warned
Garba noted that all political parties have the right to campaign and conduct their rallies in accordance to the stipulations of the Law devoid of the breakdown of Laws and Orders in the State.
He, however, warned contestants and political parties against the destruction if political billboards of opponents
“All of you are loyalists of your various political parties and you are expected to warn your supporters not to destroy billboards of your opponent.
“In case you sighted anyone doing so, you have the right to arrest such unscrupulous fellow and hand over same to the nearest Police Station/Security Agent and not to take laws into your hands by beating or assaulting the person.
The Commissioner of Police also advised political parties to draw their campaign itineraries to avoid late-night campaigns and clashes with other political campaign rallies.
“The DGs should, therefore, endeavour to inform the Police and other Security Agencies at least 24hrs notice before the time for security coverage”, he said.
Commandant of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Gbolade Felix warned against the use of Security Agencies’ uniforms by political actors.
He said the agency’s investigations revealed that some unscrupulous politicians started acquiring uniforms of NSCDC and other security agencies which they intend to use during the election for their nefarious activities.
“We are investigating the matter and at the end we will arrest and prosecute all those involved for impersonation no matter who they are”, he added.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.