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2023: IGP Bans Use Of State Sponsored Security Outfits For Campaigns

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The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba has ordered the immediate ban of the use of Amotekun, the Eastern security network and other states sponsored security outfits during the electioneering campaigns billed to kick off nationwide by week

Speaking during the strategic police managers conference held at the Force headquarters in Abuja, he explained that the measure was aimed at ensuring the general elections were not exposed to any form of compromise and abuses.

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The IGP who charged states commissioners of police to adhere to the dictates of laid down rules and regulations maintained that the political campaigns, security, and governance were primarily, the statutory obligation of the Nigeria Police Force.

He particularly reminded the police chiefs to discharge the requisite professional leadership to achieve election security in tandem with the Electoral Act 2022 and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty which was issued in 2020 by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

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According to him, “We must leave no citizen in doubt of our commitment to national peace and security, as well as our unwavering determination to advance the democratic and national security interests of our beloved nation.

“The 2023 general election and the processes leading to it will certainly put us to test in this regard. Drawing on our widely commended performances in recent elections, however, I am very confident, and I trust that you shall not fail both the Police institution and the country in the upcoming electoral engagements.

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“In aid of this process and as the ban on public campaigns by political parties is lifted by INEC, you must note the following: Familiarize yourself fully with the Electoral Act and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty and situate all your decisions and actions within them as well as your legal obligations under the Constitution, Nigeria Police Act, and other extant laws. Note and be strictly guided by the fact that all quasi-security outfits that were established by the various State governments and local communities and which are operating under different nomenclatures, structures, and orientations have no legal roles under the Electoral Act 2020 and within the electoral process.

“Hence, you are charged to ensure that they are not in any way or manner utilised by any political or community actor for any role during the electioneering campaign and other electoral processes in the countdown to the 2023 general elections. Such will amount to acts in illegality and a potent threat to national security which could be inimical to our nation’s democratic interest.”

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“In aid of this process and as the ban on public campaigns by political parties is lifted by INEC, you must note the following: Familiarize yourself fully with the Electoral Act and the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty and situate all your decisions and actions within them as well as your legal obligations under the Constitution, Nigeria Police Act, and other extant laws

“Note and be strictly guided by the fact that all quasi-security outfits that were established by the various State governments and local communities and which are operating under different nomenclatures, structures, and orientations have no legal roles under the Electoral Act 2020 and within the electoral process. Hence, you are charged to ensure that they are not in any way or manner utilised by any political or community actor for any role during the electioneering campaign and other electoral processes in the countdown to the 2023 general elections. Such will amount to acts of illegality, and a potent threat to national security which could be inimical to our nation’s democratic interest.

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He said that it was incumbent on the police chiefs to maintain an oath of neutrality in accordance with the Electoral Act; be always at alert during electoral security deployments; exhibit a high degree of professionalism and fairness in their dealings with all parties. ”We are also expected to adopt a professional orientation that emphasises democratic values, and respect for human rights and dignity, while being mindful of the duty imposed by the law to protect the electorates.”

He explained that the outcome of the credibility of the 2023 general elections would be measured by the extent to which we abide by these professional and legal standards as well as the nature of decisions and actions as the police interface with political parties in emplacing appropriate machinery to guarantee a peaceful electioneering campaign process.

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According to him, ” we must leave no citizen in doubt of our commitment to national peace and security, as well as our unwavering determination to advance the democratic and national security interests of our beloved nation.

“The 2023 general election and the processes leading to it will certainly put us to test in this regard. Drawing on our widely commended performances in recent elections, however, I am very confident, and I trust that you shall not fail both the Police institution and the country in the upcoming electoral engagement

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“Accordingly, as you return to your Commands to prepare for the electioneering campaigns, the Commissioners of Police across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT are directed as follows: Liaise with the Resident Electoral Commissioners and the leaderships of all the political parties in your Commands towards mutually coming up with a campaign timetable that will address possible conflicts both in date, time, and venues.

“The Political Campaign Timetable for each State should be forwarded to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations who will collate and forward the comprehensive layout to my Office not later than 27th September, 2022Submit an Election Security Action Plan that will detail your deployment plans for the security of all the venues of the political campaigns as they affect your Commands.

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“This should also be submitted to my Office through the DIG (Operations) not later than 27th September 2022. Convey the decision banning all quasi-security outfits in the various States and local communities from electioneering campaigns and other politically related activities to your State Governors, Local Government Chairmen, Community Leaders, and leaderships of all political parties in your Commands for their guidance

“In so doing, it should be clearly emphasised to them that any unauthorised quasi-security agent found to be engaging in any election or political activities stands the risk of being arrested and prosecuted along with their collaborators. Redirect your intelligence activities to monitor possible elements that might be attempting to threaten the electioneering campaign process, promptly isolate them, and frustrate their illegal and undemocratic intentions

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“Ensure that you upscale your deployments to dominate the public space to ensure that criminal elements do not take advantage of the active political space to manifest their criminal intents.

He counselled all political actors” to subsume their campaigns within extant legal frameworks, avoid actions or speeches that could inflame the political order and above all, cooperate with the Police in our drive to guarantee a peaceful electioneering process.”

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After 138 days: Journalist detained for allegedly exposing Ogun state Gov, finally released

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Prince Olamilekan Hammed, blogger and publisher of Eagles Foresight has been released on bail after spending 138 days in detention.

His lawyer, Habeeb Whyte, confirmed his release to The PUNCH in a phone conversation.

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“Yes, he has been released. The case was struck out,” he said.

The journalist was detained by the DSS, also known as the State Security Service (SSS), on the orders of Dapo Abiodun.

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According to his lawyer, he was invited by the agency over a report he published exposing the criminal activities of Abiodun.

The Ogun State Command of the State Security Service (SSS) has arrested and detained blogger and publisher of eaglesforesight.com.ng, Prince Olamilekan Hammed (Lahbash) for reasons yet to be disclosed,” the lawyer had said in a statement.

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However, it was reported that Ogun State Government denied Governor Abiodun’s involvement in the blogger’s arrest and detention.

He was detained for publishing a story relating to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun’s credit card fraud in the United States of America.

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It was gathered that Hammed, who appeared before the Federal High Court 1, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, was released on Tuesday.

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Confusion as Court nullifies all PDP primaries in Ogun elections

governorship, Osun, campaign
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* Bars INEC from recognising
as governorship candidate

*Orders another primary in 14 days

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By Francesca Iwambe

A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, on has nullified all the primary elections conducted by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in choosing candidates for the 2023 general elections in the State.

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The presiding judge, Justice O. O Oguntoyinbo in his judgement ordered the party to conduct another primaries within the next 14 days.

The court also barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Hon. Ladi Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.

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The party had on May 25 conducted the primary election which produced Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party.

But three members of the party, Taiwo Olabode Idris, Kehinde Akala and Alhaji Ayinde Monsuri had dragged the party, Ladi Adebutu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court challenging the authenticity of the delegates’ lists used for the conduct of the primaries.

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The plaintiffs argued, the persons on delegates’ list used by electoral panel for the primaries were not democratically elected at the ward, local government and state congresses, hence the panel “cannot unilaterally or arbitrarily impose” the list on the party for the primaries.

The plaintiffs in their originating summons, had prayed the court among others to nullify or set aside the state congress/indirect primary election, held by the 1st defendant (PDP) on 25th of May, 2022 “for the purpose of choosing the candidate which the 1st Defendant intends to nominate/sponsor at the 2023 Governorship election in Ogun State based on the list of delegates who were not democratically elected at the ward congress.”

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They also sought an order directing the 2nd Defendant (INEC) “to disregard and/or refrain from giving effect to the results of the alleged 1st Defendant’s indirect primary election held on the 25th of May, 2022 based on the list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected at the ward congresses constituted by the 1st Defendant for that purpose”.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to the plaintiffs, Thaddeus Idenyi said, the court nullified the election “because it was conducted using a list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected.

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“The implication of the judgement is obvious, the PDP will have to put their house together and then conduct a fresh primary as ordered by the court.

“This time around, the court was specific that they have to use the list that has been certified by INEC because after the primary, those lists were submitted to INEC as parts of its report of covering those ward congresses held, so the court has now said that is the list which must be considered in the conduct of the fresh primaries, so the PDP had to just put their house together and use those lists to conduct a fresh primary.”

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The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Akinloye Bankole said, the party would study the judgement before any action is taken.

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Jubilation in Rivers as Wike receives aircraft abandoned in Germany

Wike
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By Francesca Iwambe

There was Jubilation in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday as governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said the recovery and eventual return of an asset of the State, Legacy 600 Aircraft, was a reality and not mere politics.

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The governor had earlier on Tuesday morning returned to Nigeria from London, where he had traveled to for an undisclosed reason, along with his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom.

Wike spoke after receiving the Legacy 600 aircraft that touched down on Tuesday at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre local government area of the State.

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He explained that it took intelligence report for his administration to discover such asset, owned by the state government.

“The immediate past administration flew the aircraft to far away Germany, without any record of it made available to his administration.

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“To the glory of God, the plane is back and Rivers people can see, Nigerians can see. It is not that we are playing politics. All we are saying, we never knew, nobody told us until we got intelligence that we have this asset somewhere”, he said.

Wike recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili-led administration to serve the interest of Rivers people, but was abandoned with the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany by the Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi-led administration since 2012.

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The governor said: “What is very important to all of us here today is that when we came into power in 2015, nobody handed over any report or gave us handover note to let us know where such asset of the State was, only for us to hear in 2019 that this asset is somewhere.”

He said that because air transportation is a more technical area, great care was taken to put the Legacy 600 Aircraft into its best form to undertake air travel effectively.

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Wike stated that so much money was expended by the state government on the aircraft, money that would have gone into other development projects if his administration had known of the Aircraft quite early.

“In fixing the aircraft, certificate of air worthiness issued by the Nigerian government, was secured for the aircraft to return to Nigeria.

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“Of course, we did everything we could do and we told Nigerians that by the grace of God we will not allow this asset to go that way. We must return it for the people of the State to decide what they are going to do with it.

“I am so elated that at the end of the day, all of our struggles are not in vain. I thank Rivers people for the support. I thank the Rivers State House of Assembly for the support. I thank the Executive for the support.

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“But for their support, it would not have been possible to spend the money we spent. If you hear the money we spent, it’s money that would have been put in other development projects if we were told on time of it.”

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