The Police Service Commission has approved the redeployment of 37 Commissioners of Police for the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, ahead of the February 16 elections.
Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu recommended the redeployment of the affected officers to the PSC shortly after his appointment as the acting IG by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ikechukwu Ani, the PSC spokesperson, said in a statement in Abuja on Thursday that the commission had approved the redeployment of the officers, adding that the Commissioners of Police were expected to proceed immediately to their new commands before the polls.
The posting, however, did not go down well with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The opposition party described it as a ploy to use the police to rig the elections in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
But in spite of this opposition, Ani said the affected Commissioners of Police should resume at their new commands before the February 16 elections.
Also, the Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, charged the CPs to quickly settle at their new posts and ensure that the elections at their various commands were peaceful, free, fair and transparent.
He added, “Our nation cannot afford any disruption of the elections anywhere as the world is looking up to Nigeria for a proof that its democracy has continued to mature.”
But the opposition political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties has claimed that the ongoing reorganisation of the police which has led to the redeployment of some officers was aimed at favouring the ruling APC during the general elections.
The spokesman for the coalition, Imo Ugochinyere, alleged in a statement on Wednesday that the police hierarchy had asked some APC leaders to name the commissioners, area commanders, divisional police officers, SARS commanders, Rapid Response Squad Commanders and MOPOL Commanders they wanted in their states.
He said, “The manipulation includes asking selected and designated leaders of the APC to choose the officers that will work with them. Unfortunately, the acting Inspector-General of Police (Mohammed Adamu) has succumbed to their ploy and is now taking instructions from a political party on police postings.”
Ugochinyere added, “The Presidency has deliberately kept him in an acting capacity to use his confirmation as a bait to get him to do their bidding. He is now completely at their beck and call and their usual line to him are, ‘we will talk to the President about your confirmation, that you really helped us.’
“The entire security architecture of the elections has been put in grave danger and the people given the responsibility to provide security for lives and property are the same set of people jeopardising the security of the country.”
Ugochinyere described the “politically tainted police postings” as an invitation to a bloody electoral crisis and demanded a reversal of the postings.
He added, “The acting IG is set to among other politically tainted postings announce the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, a former CSO to Bola Tinubu, as the Kwara State CP.
“The APC wants to post Egbetokun to Kwara to ensure that votes do not count in the state and that Senator Bukola Saraki and the PDP must not win in Kwara even if the people vote for them.
“Where all the manipulated postings are not reversed, our resolution is that the Nigerian opposition will not be at the peace accord signing to validate and grant legitimacy to the grand violence module and rigging design of the APC.”
Also, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, has alleged that Egbetokun has been instructed to cause pandemonium in Kwara to enable the APC to rig the elections.
Ologbondiyan, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, also alleged that the police officers being posted had been directed to intimidate, harass and manhandle those against Buhari’s re-election.
Ologbondiyan said, “Nigerians are aware of how Egbetokun was posted to Lagos State by the former IG, Idris Ibrahim, to serve the same partisan interest and how that posting was stopped by the new IGP. Now, he is being redeployed to Kwara State for the same ignoble plot.
“The deployment of Kayode Egbetokun as the Kwara State CP directly negates the principle of the peace accord and can only hurt the fragile peace that currently exists in the state.”