- Says President won’t use security in 2019 elections
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The senate yesterday commended President Mohammadu Buhari, for ordering the Nigeria police high command to immediately reinstate the security Aids of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state, saying it has shown the President as a decent politician.
This is even as the senate said that from the action of the President, it has become clear that the President does not have the agenda of using the security apparatus of the state to intimidate or harass the opposition in the election.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, senator Abu Ibrahim, who said this while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, noted that the decision of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to withdraw the security of the Governor was after consultations with stakeholders.
Senator Ibrahim, who was mandated by the Senate at Wednesday plenary to meet with the police high command on the issue, as well as monitor compliance by the IGP with the directive by the Senate to restore the Governor’s security Aids, said even though the security agencies were used previously by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to intimidate opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) government does not have such intention.
He said “What happened in respect of Governor Willie Obiano’s security details is most unfortunate, and it is heartwarming that the police authorities have explained that the action was not intended to cause him any injury or harm”.
“It is also significant and exemplary that the President has since ordered the immediate reinstatement of the Governor’s security details. It is not the interest of this government to pursue the same policy of intimidation on political opponents as was done during the PDP government since 1999”.
Senator Ibrahim also pointed out that the perceived use of police to persecute a sitting Governor was actually made a best practice political tool by the immediate past administration of the PDP, assuring Nigerians that the President Buhari that he knows, will not allow a repeat of that era.
He recalled that in those days of PDP impunity, the directives to intimidate political opponents with the security agencies were directly linked to the Presidency and the then sitting President never issued any instructions to counter the positions of the police and security service.
He cited instances of where the security details of Governor Chris Ngige, APC leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Bukola Saraki, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, among others were withdrawn based on the instructions by the President.
Speaking on the budget of the Nigerian police in the 2018 fiscal year, the senator said that the details are yet to be received by senators, adding there is no amount of fund that is too much for the police and security.
He pointed out that his committee has outlined how the police trust fund can be strengthened through the Act of the National Assembly, which will also be under the supervision of the Vice President.
Meanwhile, he noted that Nigerian police has remained gratuity underfunded unlike other countries of the African continent, which he said has hampered the efficiency of the force to secure the country adequately.