The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, has ordered a crackdown on political thugs with immediate effect.
Abba is said to be seriously concerned that despite several warnings to political actors, their sponsors and collaborators against the recourse to violence and the use of thugs in furthering political interests, there have been reports of untoward activities in political campaigns and meetings.
A statement on Saturday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said the IGP noted that it is particularly worrisome that of recent, thugs and miscreants have been employed by some political parties to disrupt and truncate the political campaigns of their opponents.
In some instances, stones and missiles have been hauled at the nation’s highly respected citizens and leaders, Ojukwu further said in the statement, adding: “Abusive and demeaning words, and in some instances, offensive vituperations bordering on the macabre, have been hauled at opponents.
“We have also received disturbing reports of the pulling down and defacing of campaign posters.
“These conduct definitely do not speak well of the maturity of aspiring leaders.
“Such acts contravene section 227 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and sections 94 and 95 of the Electoral Act.
“Besides, they grossly negate sections 5 – 8 of the Public Order Act and Article 3 of the Political Parties Code of conduct commonly agreed to and adopted by all political parties.
“For the avoidance of the doubt, the Nigeria Police will apply the full weight of the law on any political actor, sponsor, associate or foot-soldier who resorts to hate speech or the use of violence to advance his or her political agenda.
“The unity, peace and orderly progress of this nation cannot be mortgaged to suite or oil the ambitions of a few.
“Consequently, the IGP has directed all Zonal AIGs and Command Commissioners of Police to thoroughly investigate all acts by political actors, their sponsors and agents that contravene the provisions of the laws enumerated above.
“Let it be restated that the law is not a respecter of persons.”