The All Progressives Congress has urged the new Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to approach his new task with a high level of professionalism while shunning crass partisanship, which it says has dragged key national institutions of state, especially the police, into the political fray.
This was contained in a statement in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
APC advised the Acting IGP to learn from “the fate that befell his predecessors who, under their watch, turned the police into the enforcement arm of the ruling party, thus allowing the institution to be wantonly used to thwart the will of the people and act in ways that negated its constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order.”
It said irrespective of the reasons for his appointment as the Acting IGP at this time, Arase must realize that he would be judged solely by the direction to which he takes the police, which the party described as “one of the most abused national institutions” by those who had been at the helm of the nation’s affairs since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999.
APC added, ”We do not know the reason for the sacking of the immediate past IGP, but we have read, just like other Nigerians, that it might not be unconnected with the role he either played or did not play in the last general elections.
“What we do know is that the police force, under the former IG, was a major actor in the massive rigging and violence that characterized the elections in some parts of the country, especially in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto and Gombe States just to mention a few.
”Now, Mr. Arase faces perhaps the biggest test in his new capacity with the supplementary elections coming up in Abia, Imo and Taraba States. We do hope he will not allow the police, under him, to be used to thwart the will of the people in those states or to give cover to those who will engage in violence.
“Any IG, worth his salt, does not need to pander to the President or the ruling party in carrying out his duties. All he has to do is to make sure the police carry out their statutory duties in accordance with the law and without fear or favor.
The party said it did not believe the rumors making the rounds that the new Acting IGP was appointed to facilitate victory for the Peoples Democratic Party in those supplementary elections.
“In any case, whatever may be the reason for his appointment, he should realize that Nigerians have now reached a level where they will not allow anyone, whether in uniform or not, to either prevent them from exercising their franchise or to collude with politicians to ensure that their votes do not count,” it added.