The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to a report on pages 1 and 4 of the Nation Newspaper of today 22nd February, 2017 titled “ INEC REPORT ON RIVERS RERUN INDICTS POLICE, OTHERS”.
The Nigeria Police Force as the lead agency in election security in the country recognizes the need to ensure that the rule of law, Policing based on International core values with integrity, principles of Democratic policing in conformity with the electoral acts prevails in all its operations as regard elections, and protection of life and property across the nation.
Consequent on the conduct of the Rivers Rerun Election of 10th December, 2017, and the attendant irregularities and violence witnessed during the election, the Nigeria Police Force acted promptly and proactively by the setting up and Inauguration of a joint Investigative Panel, made up of Senior Police Officers and Officers of Department of State Security Service with proven integrity by the Inspector General of Police, on the 22nd December, 2016, to investigate all the misconducts, identified infractions, incidents of violence and other actions and inactions of Police personnel and INEC Officials, other security agencies and stakeholders who were deployed for the 10th December, 2016 Rivers rerun election.
The investigation Panel was further mandated to also investigate the prevalence of violent crimes, such as armed robbery, kidnapping/hostage taking, hijack of election materials and attacks on electorates, INEC members of staff, ad-hoc personnel and other stakeholders that were involved either directly or indirectly in the conduct of the election. The joint investigation panel submitted its report to the Inspector General of Police on the 7th February, 2017.
The Nigeria Police Force identified and proactively taken action against six (6) Police Officers who were indicted by the Investigative Panel report to have compromised, engaged in serious misconduct, misused of fire arms, and for other conducts in violation of the electoral act and other enabling laws during the Rivers rerun election.
They were arrested, investigated and subjected to internal disciplinary measures, after being found guilty were dismissed from the Force and paraded before the media on 6th January, 2017 and are awaiting prosecution. Other agencies whose personnel were also indicted by the Joint Investigation Panel are expected to do the same to their personnel indicted in the report without any further delay.
Twenty three (23) INEC Electoral Officers and two (2) Administrative officials who were indicted by the panel were arrested, investigated and total sum of one hundred and eleven million three hundred thousand naira (#111, 300,000) confessed to have been collected from the His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Wike was recovered from them. They were granted bail to the Director of Human Resources, INEC Headquarters Abuja.
The report as quoted above is a disservice to the Nigeria Police Force because all the issues raised were discovered by the Joint Investigative Panel and have been dealt with.
The story is therefore misleading, malicious and capable of misinforming members of the public on the statutory roles of the Nigeria Police Force in election security, restoration of law and order, and the protection of lives and property throughout the country.
The Nigeria Police Force is apolitical and will not engage in any political partisanship, and will continue to ensure that election security is guaranteed across the country.