By Augustine Ehikioya
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, has vowed to resist every move to truncate Nigeria’s democracy.
He declared that the 29th May 2023 Presidential Inauguration is sacrosanct.
IGP Baba addressed a press briefing in Abuja on Monday. It was monitored by Security Watch Africa (SWA).
He specifically warned politicians and their foot soldiers bent on causing trouble to desist from such plans.
He said “I welcome you to this Press Conference which was called to address some critical security issues that have of late dominated the internal security space with potentials of threatening our democratic order.
“Following the successful conclusion of the 2023 General elections, it has been observed that some major political actors that the outcome did not favour, have been issuing public threats that are directed at instigating actions to frustrate the Presidential inauguration ceremony on 29th May, 2023.
“The Nigeria Police and the national intelligence community have been closely monitoring the activities of these political elites as well as other elements who have formed themselves into unpatriotic brands whose only fantasy, in recent times, is to subvert our national security interests.
“In so doing, they seem to be bent on deploying extra-judicial and undemocratic means to truncate our democratic heritage in advancement of their narrow personal political considerations.
“The beauty of democracy lies not just in the freedom of the citizens to freely exercise their franchise within the electoral cycle,” he said.
According to him, all aggrieved political actors is expected to submit grievances on the electoral outcome to the judicial process for consideration.
The credentials of a true democrat, he said, must, therefore, be measured by his or her level of patriotism, and “willingness to manifest the culture of submitting to rule of law, peace, democratic values, and the judicial process.”
“These are integral and critical components of the political process,” he added.
The IGP went on “It is also expected that a true democrat will subsume his or her personal political ambition under overriding national security and democratic interests of the country. Unfortunately, the public utterances of some political actors and their current attempts at inciting public protests with a view to creating national tension ahead of the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony do not only negate these values, but they are also manifestly subversive, undemocratic, unconstitutional.
“Having submitted their political grievances to the judicial process, it remains concerning that some of the political gladiators are still bent on engaging other extra-judicial means to advance their interest in a manner that questions their overall intentions as well as the patriotic and democratic credentials which they project.”
He went on “The imperative of peace in our national life cannot be over-emphasized. Sustenance of peace and security is even more expedient at this stage in our national democratic transition.
“Consequently, while the Nigeria Police, in synergy with other security agencies and the intelligence community, continues to closely monitor the activities of these political elements, it has become expedient to make some clear statements.”
Addressing the potential troublemakers, he said “Firstly, the Nigeria Police hereby sternly warns all political actors with subversive agenda and their collaborators, particularly, their foot soldiers who they are exposing to political radicalisation and extremism to, henceforth, jettison their on-going premeditated attempts to create tension within the national space with intention of derailing the 29th May 2023 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.
“Secondly, any such persons, regardless of their political affiliations who continuously engages in acts that are inimical to our nation’s democratic and security interests should not be in doubt on the firm determination of the Nigeria Police under my watch to closely collaborate with the law enforcement family and the intelligence community to defend our democracy, keep the internal security order stable and optimally deploy our common unique assets towards guaranteeing the successful conduct of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony
“Thirdly, we note that the Inauguration Ceremonies at all the National and State levels of government are a critical constitutional requirement for the sustenance of our political order as a nation and the Nigeria Police is duty and legally bound to defend our democratic heritage and closely police the constitutional processes.”
He assured the citizens that the Nigeria Police Force loyalty to Nigeria’s democratic and political order remains firm and unwavering.
“We will defend our democracy at all costs. The 29th May, 2023 date for the swearing-in ceremony of the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed, other inauguration ceremonies at National and State levels is sacrosanct,” he said.
The IGP said further “The constitutional mandates of the Nigeria Police include the security governance of the processes leading to the inauguration of elected candidates at all levels and the guarantee for the successful conduct of the inauguration events. We shall undertake this task optimally and manifestly.
“Anybody that stands in the way will be identified, promptly isolated, and brought to deserved justice in the overriding interest of our national security and stable political order.
“Consequently, citizens are encouraged to be mindful of the antics of political elements who may want to manipulate their political passion to advance parochial, undemocratic, and unconstitutional objectives.
“They should resist such, go about their lawful businesses and prepare to be part of the advancement of our democratic journey as patriotic citizens by freely participating in the inauguration ceremonies, assured that the Nigeria Police have acquired adequate assets to guarantee their protection.
“They are also encouraged to promptly report any attempts by the misguided political elements to infiltrate their ranks and engender political tension in the country for appropriate law enforcement response.”
He said the international community is, similarly, encouraged not to be swayed by the ill-informed actions of unpatriotic political actors who may be creating false red flags through the social media.
“They are assured that our democracy remains firmly on course, the country’s security order remains stable, and the Presidential Inauguration will hold as scheduled under a very peaceful atmosphere.”
He appealed to media practitioners to also be weary of the intents of these political gladiators and resist the urge to deploy their credible media outlets to advance their destabilization plots.
“Nigeria remains our national heritage and working together, we should continue to advance and place her interests over and above parochial personal or group interests,” he stated.