The Police Command in Borno has banned the engagement of quasi-security outfits by political parties and their candidates for electioneering campaign in the state.
The Commisioner of Police, Mr Abdu Umar stated this during a monthly Police Officers’ Conference in Maiduguri on Wednesday.
He said the measure was imperative to ensure peaceful and violent free electioneering campaigns and other political related activities ahead of the 2023 General Elections.
He charged the Police Divisional Officers (DPOs) and heads of other police formations to liase with local council officials, community leaders and leadership of political parties to create awareness and ensure compliance with the ban.
“As you return to your formations and divisions, overhaul deployments to dominate the public space and enhance visibility in policing, design action plans for security coverage of venues of political campaigns and enforced the ban on the use of quasi-security outfits,” he said.
Umar said the Force would ensure compliance to the electoral laws, fair play, traffic and crowd management at the venues of campaigns, rallies and other political activities.
According to him, the conference is to review security architecture to conform with the evolving political programmes set out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Umar said the meeting was also to enable the police officers to interact on measures towards guaranteeing a crime-free and enabling environment for the political campaigns and electoral processes.
“Recall that the INEC, in compliance with Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, confirmed that electioneering campaigns officially commenced Sept. 28, 2022.
“From this time forward, politically related offences may begin to manifest, hence the need for intensive security coverage by the Police being the lead security agency in political process.
“To achieve our election security mandate, there is the need for us all not to rest on our oars.
“The Electoral Act, the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Personnel on Election Duty remains our watch-word.
“The Police as a critical stakeholder in the election process, outcome of the credible election will be measured by the extent to which we abide by the professional and legal standards,” he said.
While reiterating commitment of the command to protect lives and property, Umar urged political parties and their candidates to shun vulgar language and acts capable of disrupting relative peace in the state.
He further tasked the personnel of the Command to maintain cordial relationship with members of the public, adding that the police needed the support of the citizenry to enable it to discharge its constitutional mandate.