2023: CP Garba, Warns Political Actors Against Political Violence In Ebonyi

By Celestine Okeh, Abakaliki

The commissioner of police, Ebonyi State Command, CP Aliyu Garba has warmed political actors in the state against engaging in act capable of triggering violent and breach public peace in the state.

CP Aliyu Garba gave the warning on Tuesday, during a meeting with political party Chairmen, director generals of campaign council and Chairme of Local Government Areas in the state, held at officers mess, Ebonyi State police Command headquarters, Abakaliki.

He maintained that as long as political parties deserved the right to hold rallies and campaign, it should be done within the armbit of the law.

He said, "Generally speaking, all political parties have right to campaign and conduct their rallies in accordance to the stipulations of the Law devoid of breakdown of Law and Orders in the State.

"On this note, I urge you all as critical stakeholders in the General Election, to mobilize and campaign to the electorate in an orderly manner so as to avoid infringement on fundamental rights of the residence.

"All Political Parties have right to engage in a political rally within a designated venue. However, if a political party elect to hold a political rally in a specific venue which is Government/Public facility, the political party must apply to the LG Chairman of the jurisdiction for permission to make use of such venue. In the event the chairman refused/ declined his permission, such party can notify the Commissioner of Police for onward communication of same to His Excellency who is the Chief Security Officer of the State for his approval".

He reiterated the stand of electoral act against involvement of non State actors in the electioneering process, stressing that Ebubeagu security has no role in the electioneering campaign.

"The South East Security Outfit (Ebubeagu) has no role in electioneering campaign and they are not created for any political purposes rather they are to complement the security architecture of the State with the State Actors. Therefore, no LG Chairman nor political party stakeholders should engage the Ebubeagu bearing arms of whatever caliber for whatsoever reason as Ebubeagu are not created for their political aggrandizement rather they are to strengthen security of the State as non-state actors".

"Therefore anyone found wanting will be dealt with accordingly. As such, the LG Chairmen and all political stakeholders including aspirants are hereby warned and reminded that no one is above the law and anyone who goes contrary to the provision of the extant laws shall be arrested and prosecuted accordingly".

The CP reminded the political parties of the need to notify the cammand of their political rallies and campaigns so as to provide adequate security coverage.

"Political parties are expected to make known to the Command and other Security Agencies in the State their campaign schedules /timetable and to notify the Police whenever they are to embark on campaign/rallies for the purpose of security clearance and coverage".

He enjoined political leaders to warned their loyalists against indiscriminate destruction of billboards and posters of opposing political parties.

"All of you are loyalist of your various political parties and you are expected to warn your supporters not to destroy bill boards of your opponent and in case you sighted anyone doing so, you have the right to arrest such unscrupulous fellow and handover same to the nearest Police Station/Security Agent and not to take laws into your hands by beating or assaulting the person".

He however, advised the Local Government Chairmen to always synergize with Area commanders and Divisional police officers in their various Council Areas to identify back spots in their various local Government Areas.

"Council Chairmen/Stakeholders should always synergize with their Area Commanders/ Divisional Police Officers to identify black spot in their AOR for raids and necessary security coverage of same.

"Campaign director of various political parties are to draw their campaign itineraries to avoid late night campaign and clashes with other political campaign rallies. The DGs should therefore, endeavor to inform the Police and other Security Agencies at least 24hrs notice before the time for security coverage".

He warned politicians and political actors against recruitment of thugs and hoodlums during campaigns and rallies, stressing that such act will not be tolerated and any breach of public peace as a result of such action, no matter how highly placed the actors are will receive the full weight of the law.

"Recruitment of thugs and hoodlums will not be tolerated in electioneering process.

"All of you are stakeholders in electioneering process and I urge you all to see yourselves as agent of peace and not instigators of violence".

He urge Journalists in the state to always cross check fact and ensure high level of objectivity in their news reportage, especially this electioneering period.

"It has been observed in series of media reports since the inception of the electioneering campaign for the 2023 General Election that media houses are mostly found of reporting news to the public in an imbalance and bias way without taking time to embark on investigative journalism to hear from the other party especially the Police. This attitude is capable of threatening the security architecture emplaced in the State to forestall breakdown of Law and Order in the State.".

"On this note, I urge you gentlemen of the press to do a critical assessment of your news and be objective while reporting same to the public.

"In conclusion, I throw to you all a rhetoric question thus can we have campaigns/ rallies and elections without violence? This poser is for all of you to ponder on and produce an affirmative answer to same", he concluded.

Speaking during the meeting, director general of APC campaign council, Mr Austin Umahi lamented the level of his parties billboards and posters and insessant false accusations against his party by the opposition political parties in the state and called for immediate stop to such action.

His labour party counterpart, Mr George Ukpai, appreciated the police commissioner for the prompt clarification and assured that his party will abide by the rules.

The State APC Chairman, Mr Stanley Okoro Emegha admonished all political parties in the state to eschew violence as power comes and not about individual struggle.

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