The Police Service Commission (PSC) has announced the deployment of staff monitors to the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country to monitor the conduct of police officers on election duties during the 2023 general elections holding Saturday, February 25th and March 11th 2023 respectively.
According to a statement by the PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, “The commission, a federal executive body, has the constitutional mandate to discipline, and exercise control over officers of the Nigeria Police Force except the Inspector General of Police, amongst other constitutional responsibilities”.
The commission says it will monitor the conduct of these officers to ensure that they operate within defined rules of engagement prescribed for officers on election duties, believing that the success or not of the 2023 general elections largely depends on how effective and efficient the police, the lead agency in internal security are, and to maximize the benefits of inter-agency collaboration with sister security agencies.
The statement revealed that the guidelines on police conduct during the elections will soon be released by the commission to guide policemen who will be involved in election security.
“The commission will also release dedicated telephone numbers where Nigerians will be required to call to complain or commend police officers during the elections.
It warned, “Police officers found negligent or outright involved in official misconduct would be disciplined in line with the provisions of the law. Police officers are advised to restrict themselves to providing security during the elections and should not engage in serving as conductors for vote buying or other misconducts”.
“The commission will continue to hold the police accountable for its conduct or misconduct during the elections as its contribution to deepening the nation’s democracy”, the statement added.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba has set-up election planning, monitoring and evaluation teams for on-the-spot assessment and appraisal of security emplacements.
The IGP who reassured more secured, smooth electoral process, confirmed the viability of existing electoral offences desks to deal with erring police officers and men found wanton.
In a statement by CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force Public Relations officer (FPRO), the Election Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Teams were to be deployed across the states of the federation, to identify, analyze and mitigate threats, as well as carry out on-the-spot assessment and appraisal of the security emplacements ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“The IGP has similarly appointed the vice president (INTERPOL) and Head, National Crime Bureau (NCB), AIG Garba Baba Umar as the national coordinator of the team of experienced and seasoned police officers with vast knowledge in election security management, to be assisted by other team members including the AIG Force Secretary, AIG Habu Sani, CP Election Monitoring, CP Basil Idegwu, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi.
“The team also comprises 7 other commissioners of police, 15 deputy commissioners of police, 30 assistant commissioners of police, 30 chief superintendents of police, and 16 strategic officers of other ranks”, the statement revealed.
The IGP, while reiterating the commitment of the Police to ensuring that the elections are safe, secure, credible, and in line with global best practices, tasked the team to, amongst other things, ensure the propriety of deployments, give real-time coverage of the electoral process, and safeguard against hostile external and internal influence using INTERPOL, anti-cybercrime and intelligence tools and assets of the Nigeria Police Force.
In the same vein, the IGP reaffirmed the establishment and viability of the electoral offences desk domiciled at the State Criminal Investigation Departments (SCID) of all commands across the nation headed by the assistant commissioners of police in charge of the SCID. The Electoral Offences Desk is saddled with the responsibility of collating, investigating and prosecuting all matters relating to electoral offences nationwide.
The Inspector-General of Police, therefore, calls on well-meaning Nigerians, international communities, and all stakeholders to support the NPF teams in all areas, particularly on intelligence sharing and regular engagements, to achieve success in the 2023 general elections.