Inspector General of Police (IGP)Usman Baba has blamed the rising political violence in the country on some of the state governors.
Mr. Baba said this during a meeting with political parties and other stakeholders in Abuja on Thursday.
The country recently witnessed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, at the latest meeting held by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Electoral Security (ICCES). 52 cases of electoral violence in 22 states in a month
Mr. Monguno said President Muhammadu Buhari had authorized all security agencies to deal decisively with any person or group trying to prevent the peaceful conduct of the general election.
On Thursday, Mr. Baba said the meeting was called to engage the leadership of political parties in the growing trend of political violence and present a common front to tackle the issues.
“We have been receiving reports from some state governors who are pushing political agendas.
“They use sub-national security outfits under their control to disrupt the campaign activities of parties or candidates with opposing political views.
“By doing so, they expand their powers and influence to prevent or take down campaign posters.
“Furthermore, they deny spaces to political opponents to hold their campaigns or peaceful political congregations contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (As Amended),” he said.
The IGP attributed most of the incidents of violence to extremism, misinformation, intolerance, wrong political orientations, hate speech, promotion of strategic actors and desperation.
According to him, such operatives usually mislead their party faithful, arm them, redirect them and encourage them to use threats, violence and other illegal means to frustrate rival political parties.
He said that political violence in any shape, form or manifestation is an offense under the electoral act and is an offense under the criminal laws of the country.
Mr. Baba said the Nigerian Police and other security agencies will continue to fulfill their legal obligations to initiate enforcement actions to restore order in the political and national security systems.
He pledged to take proactive steps to identify, isolate, apprehend and bring to justice any political actors and their goons at political rallies or any other political engagement.
“We have also resolved to implement firm actions that will prevent targeted attacks on INEC assets across the country.
“More than a stern warning, it is a clarion call to all, both security agencies and political actors to speak with one voice to condemn political violence,” he said.
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Mr. Baba said that leadership of political parties is critical in eradicating political intolerance, intimidation, violence and other negative tendencies in democratic processes.
He said this is because they are the strategic gateways of our democracy whose behavior or misbehavior reverberates in the actions of their followers.
The IGP appealed to the leadership of the political parties to demonstrate the proper virtues of leadership and publicly dissociate themselves from acts of political brigandage and violence.
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