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May 29: IG orders police to crush protests

Posted by By MURPHY GANAGANA, Abuja on 2007/05/17 | Views: 1008 |

May 29: IG orders police to crush protests


Ahead May 29, Inspector General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero, has ordered all state commissioners of police to crush any rally, procession or meeting held in any part of the country without police permit. The directive came barely 12 hours after the Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD) and other civil society groups resolved to embark on a mass action to usher in an interim government.

Ahead May 29, Inspector General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero, has ordered all state commissioners of police to crush any rally, procession or meeting held in any part of the country without police permit. The directive came barely 12 hours after the Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD) and other civil society groups resolved to embark on a mass action to usher in an interim government.

Speaking against the backdrop of a deluge of requests received so far from aggrieved candidates and political parties for police report on the polls, Ehindero emphatically warned Assistant Inspectors General of Police at the zonal level and commissioners in charge of state commands not to accede to such requests from politicians.

Said he: "No CP must give any police report on the elections to politicians who request for it. The procedure is that when they forward their petitions to the tribunals, if they need us to clarify something, the tribunal will subpoena us. And it is for you to go and give evidence there, and not for you to submit your report, because such reports if handed to somebody, may be used for another purpose other than the purpose it is intended."

The IGP, who spoke Wednesday in Abuja at a meeting with senior police officers from the rank of commissioner of police and above drawn from all police formations nationwide, further gave a stern order to his men to crush any illegal rally or meeting held without police permit between now and May 29, when the new administration is expected to be inaugurated at the federal and state levels.

His words: "Let me remind you of the immediate challenge we have now. You are aware that on May 29, there will be inauguration of the president-elect and governors-elect. The law is very clear on rallies and meetings. You must be very firm and decisive in handling them. You have my authority to dismantle any rally or meeting without police permit, and it doesnít matter whoever is involved.

"Weíve given you sufficient teargas. Mobilize your female mobile police teams and have male back-ups. I must emphasize that we cannot allow any group of persons to truncate the gains of democracy in this country. So, be very vigilant in your states. Make sure you use your CIB and CID men for proactive intelligence gathering to nip any unlawful rally or meeting in the bud".

Although Ehinderoís remarks and directives at the meeting did not portray a valedictory session with the top echelon of the police force, he, however, announced his readiness to quit office any moment from now and hand over to the next IGP. Towards this end, he said a committee has been set up to ensure his smooth pull-out from service tentatively slated for June 1, 2007, just as he planned to hold a world press conference early next week, to showcase his achievements as the nationís number one cop and the challenges ahead of the police force.

He commended officers and men for providing an enabling environment for peaceful conduct of the recent elections, noting that the police received accolades for the first time in the nationís history, for neither recording any accidental discharge of firearms handled by its personnel, nor the death of voters on account of police inadequacies.

While confirming receipt of letters of nomination of aides-de-camp (ADCs) from some governors-elect, the IGP, however, said police authorities will be fully involved in the selection process to ensure that only competent officers are deployed as Chief Security Officers and ADCs, who he said, must not be above the rank of a Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of Police respectively, for state governors.

Reacting to the recent killing of a police Inspector by militants in Bayelsa State, Ehindero frowned at the misuse of mobile policemen as guards to individuals and other duties which ought to be performed by conventional policemen, saying men of the Police Mobile Force will commence a re-training programme from next month.

He described as shocking, the discovery of a shortfall in the number of firearms and personnel attached to the Mopol 20 in Lagos, disclosing that heads will soon roll at the squadron to serve as a deterrent to others.

The IGP warned police officers at the Police College, Ikeja, who recently threatened a showdown with the authorities over a directive to quit their quarters, to vacate immediately or face the wrath of the law. "I was in Lagos recently and I heard some police officers making useless noise over a quit order. All those policemen who are in quarters at the police colleges where they no longer serve should pack out immediately. All Commandants of Police Colleges should compile and forward to me names of all officers posted out, but havenít packed out of the premises", he directed.

At the end of the opening session of the meeting which held at the Louis Edet House Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, the IGP paraded a 32-year-old man before newsmen for allegedly operating an illegal arms factory in Niger State. He alleged that 36 firearms of various caliber, 133 live ammunition and 10 magazines for pistol, were recovered from the suspect identified as Ahmadu Magaji.

Amazed at the suspectís skills and proficiency in manufacturing the highly sophisticated arms, Ehindero noted that although the police will thoroughly investigate the criminal aspect of the case with a view to recovering the illegal weapons from his customers, the police may recommend sending Magaji to the Defence Industries Corporation (DICON) in Kaduna, so as not to waste his potentials.

Interestingly, Magaji, who dropped out of secondary school in JSS2, admitted being solely responsible for manufacturing the illegal arms, but said he inherited the trade from his late father who was a blacksmith.

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