Why we remove, redeploy Command CPs few days to elections – IGP opens up
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has stated the reasons why state commissioners of police are usually removed and redeployed a few days before elections.
The IGP said, the move was to avoid possible manipulation of the elections by police chiefs who might have been compromised by governors to rig elections.
The IGP stated this on Wednesday at the 2022 Annual Political Parties Summit organised by Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC)
National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Abuja.
Recall that ahead of the general elections in 2019, the Police Service Commission (PSC) approved the recommendation of the then IGP for the redeployment of 37 Command Commissioners of Police for the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja just a week to the election.
The move generated public outcry while opposition political parties described such action as a threat to the nation’s democracy.
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in many fora frowned at the continued redeployment of heads of security agencies days before elections in the country, saying such action hampers the effective execution of mutually developed election project plans.
But defending the action at the political summit, the IGP represented by Deputy-Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of operations, DanDaura Mustapha, said it is a standard practice in the police to replace officers that might comprise the electoral process.
He explained: “In terms of redeployment, during a seminar or conference in Owerri, they raised a concern that why is it that it is during election times we normally remove some of these commissioners of police and redeploy them.
“One, if a Commissioner of Police is very much conversant with the state and he or she is very close to His Excellency, there is an attendant tendency that he can easily be manipulated. If we realize that, and we have seen signs and evidence that the Commissioner of Police has compromised, we will allow him but once it is just two to three days to the election, we will withdraw him and put in a neutral person that will go and work for the interests of all the political parties.
“That is our plan. We have been doing it and we will not stop doing it. Once you are identified to compromise, then you cannot be allowed to conduct that election. As I said earlier, the Commissioner of Police is under the supervision of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police. So when the time comes, we shift them and we will put people in the right places, but where we discover that the CP is competent and there’s no complaint against him from the opposition, we will allow him to do his work because he is conversant with the state and terrain.
“So posting of Commissioner of police and other senior officers during the election period is continuous. We’ll continue to do it once we receive a complaint in order to wash our hands that we’re not involved in any partisan politics.
The IGP also directed that no account should any Commissioner of Police allow a sitting governor to stop other political parties from conducting their campaigns in all the nooks and crannies of any state.
He said, “This instruction is very clear both in writing and verbally. The Commissioners of Police have been directed to arrest all the hoodlums who disrupt political campaign rallies irrespective of where (party) they belong or whoever is sponsoring them.
“We will arrest and charge them to court. So, please be rest assured that all political parties you are free to go about your campaigns. You are free to go and enter any local government or village to conduct your campaign freely and we’re going to give all political parties and candidates enough security.”