Kaduna state Commissioner of Police, Yekini Ayoku, has warned political parties to avoid thuggery and violence during the 2023 general elections, while assuring of level playing ground as Police will be professional and impartial in its conducts.
Speaking on Wednesday during a meeting with leaders of political parties and stakeholders on how to ensure peaceful and violence free election come 2023, CP Ayoku warned the political parties and their supporters against hate speech, use of indecent languages, use of non-state security outfits and carrying weapons and other dangerous items at campaign venues.
“We shall resolutely discharge this duty of securing the electoral process before, during and after the election in close collaboration and robust synergy with INEC and other security agencies. I assure you all that a level playing field shall be provided for all political parties and actors. The Nigeria Police will be professional, unbiased and impartial in its dealings and engagement with all political. parties and in the electoral process.
“Political parties are strongly advised not to make the mistake of employing the services of thugs and other miscreants in the electoral process. Parents and guardians are equally warned to caution their children and wards into being used for thuggery. Violators, regardless of status, will be arrested and dealt with without mercy in accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws. The new Electoral Act prohibits the use of non-state security outfits and the bearing or use of weapons such as dane guns, swords, daggers, bows, arrows and other dangerous weapons at campaign venues.
“Political parties and candidates are mandated to base their campaigns on issues and ideas as politics is basically a contest of ideas without bitterness. You are to eschew violence, hate speech, indecorous languages which have tendency of escalating into chaos. I have to seriously warn against removal, defacing of opponents’ posters and banners as I equally remind that there should be no pasting of banners on public buildings as government institutions, schools, hospitals, INEC offices and worship centres.
“As political leaders and candidates, you will be held responsible and accountable for the conduct of your members and supporters and hence, the need to rein in overzealous supporters cannot be overemphasized. I am very confident that with the support of all of you and other critical stakeholders in the electoral process, the forthcoming general elections and the activities leading up to it in this state, shall be peaceful, free, fair and hitch-free. That is what our country expects of us and that is what we owe our people and our fatherland,” he said.
Kaduna state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Felix Hassan Hyet, urged the security agencies to apply the law to the latter without fear or favour, “there should be no respect for office but respect for the law. We are going to collaborate with you in respect of the law but not in respect of individuals. I have the confidence that we will have free and fair election. We feel comfortable with the assurances they have given us but it would not stop us from raising where we find it necessary”.
For the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Salisu Wusono, with the assurances from the Police and INEC, there is only smooth process ahead.