The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, has blamed the increasing cases of political violence on some state governors.
Baba, who spoke during a meeting with leadership of political parties and other stakeholders on the increasing trend of political violence, stressed the need to present a common front in addressing the issues.
The meeting held at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, was also attended by personnel from the military and othe security agencies.
The IG said the meeting became necessary following a noticeable trend within the national political space, which, if not promptly addressed, could evolve into a potent threat to not just the national security but the electoral process.
“We have been receiving reports of some state governors who encourage political thugs. They use sub-national security outfits under their control to disrupt seamless and statutorily guaranteed campaign activities of parties or candidates with whom they hold opposing political views.
“In so doing, they deploy their powers and influence to either prevent the mounting of campaign bill boards or pull them down.
“They also denying political opponents of spaces to undertake their campaigns or peaceful political congregations in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).”
He blamed most incidences of violence on political extremism, misinformation, intolerance, wrong political orientation, hate speeches, incitement and desperation of strategic actors. He said such actors usually give a wrong direction to their party faithful, armed them, reorient them and encourage them to resort to use of threat, violence, and other extra-legal means to frustrate competing political parties. He said political violence, in any form, shape or manifestation, is an offence under the Electoral Act and a crime under extant criminal laws of the country.
Baba said the police and other security agencies in fulfilment of their statutory obligations would remain duty bound to initiate enforcement actions to restore order within the political and national security systems. He pledged to adopt proactive steps to identify, isolate, apprehend and bring any political actor and their thugs at political rallies or any other political engagement to deserved justice.
“We have also resolved to emplace firm actions that will deter targeted attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission assets across the country.
“More than a stern warning, this is a clarion call for us all, both as security agencies and political actors to speak out with one voice in condemning political violence,” he said.