Elections: PSC warns against illegal transfer of police commissioners

…as Acting IG hints at massive officer deployments

Less than one month to the general election, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has warned against illegal transfer of police commissioners.

PSC Commissioner, Hajiya Naja’atu Muhammad, who spoke against the backdrop of recent transfers in the Nigeria Police Force, told newsmen at the Jigawa State Police Headquarters that every transfer carried out by the police, without the endorsement of the Commission was null and void.

She said: “What has happened in the past is that the former Commission abdicated its responsibilities by handing it over to the Inspector General (IG), who made transfers as it pleased him. It has never been the responsibility of the IG to make transfers.” She drew the attention of Nigerians to some illegalities in the past, and stressed that the PSC intends to stop every form of illegalities in future.

Meanwhile, the Acting Inspector-General (Ag. IG) of Police Mohammed Adamu told senior officers yesterday that there would be massive deployment in the police ahead of the forthcoming elections,

He also warned politicians to refrain from activities that can trigger violence, saying that the Force will not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone who poses a threat to peace.

Adamu spoke at the Force Headquarters in Abuja after taking the baton from Ibrahim Idris, who retired from service on Tuesday as IG after turning 60, the statutory retirement age.

He said: “In the interim, let me use this opportunity to quickly remind you that aside our routine operations, we have within the short term, two major national assignments where our professionalism and commitment to duty will once again be subjected to national and international scrutiny.

“First, is the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections on 16th February, 2019 and next are the governorship, State Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area council elections on Saturday, 2nd March 2019.

“These national engagements are of immediate priority to my leadership and, hence, in the next few days, the nation shall witness concerted police deployments and other activities which will all be directed at ensuring quality election security service delivery by the Police, being the lead agency in election security management.

“While with your support, I am confident that we have the operational capacity to ensure the success of both exercises, I am not unaware of the possible security threats that some misguided political actors and their followers, may attempt to pose during the general elections.

“To such elements, I must sound a note of warning that as a nation, we have had enough of electoral violence. Hence, while the police under my watch shall work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and sister security agencies in guaranteeing a peaceful and secure space for all political parties and the citizens to freely exercise their electoral rights, we shall not hesitate to identify, isolate and bring to deserved justice any person or group that attempts to threaten our sacred democratic order.

“To the unrepentant felons that may want to put our common will to test, the message is being relayed here loud and clear that in securing the law abiding citizens during the elections, we shall not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with electoral deviants.

“Consequently, I call on political actors to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies in sustaining the gains recorded in our democratic journey. They should always remember that politics is a game guided by rules and it behoves them to play the game within the dictates of such rules.

“On our part, we assure the nation of our determination to play our roles fairly but firmly towards guaranteeing a peaceful electoral process and a credible outcome.”

He identified the absence of transparent, knowledgeable, accountable and motivational leadership as some of the problems facing the police.

Adamu described his appointment as a call to service and an opportunity to restore the image of the Force.

Before Idris and Adamu walked into the Conference Room and the Force Headquarters at about 11:03am, they were welcomed by the members of the police management team, comprising seven Deputy Inspectors-General of Police and an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, other senior police officers and well-wishers.

The immediate-past IG, who appeared in a cream kaftan and black cap, said: “We are here in the handing over ceremony. I have served in the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years. By the grace of God, I retired yesterday (Tuesday) and this is going to be my final departure point from the Police.”

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