By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri – The Police in Borno have warned political parties and their candidates against provocative campaigns and acts capable of breaching peace in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Damian Chukwu, gave the warning at a meeting with political parties, candidates and stakeholders on Thursday in Maiduguri.
Chukwu said that political parties and candidates were expected to conduct themselves in a manner that would promote peace in the society and facilitate peaceful conduct of the elections.
He said: “politicians and supporters are not expected to carry offensive weapons during rallies, campaigns and other political activities.
“Thuggery, intimidation and demonstration of violent conduct will not be condoned during pre and post-elections in the state.
“As a political party or a member of the party, you are not expected to retain, organize, train, equip or procure persons or group of persons for the use or display of force and violence during campaign and election.
“No hate speech, defamation and inciting statements, campaign on religion or tribe should be avoided.
“The campaign should be devoid of abusive languages directly or indirectly intended to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.”
Chukwu also warned against removal of posters and bill boards, noting that the action contravened provisions of the Electoral Act and defaulters would be prosecuted.
He called on political parties and the candidates to work as a team to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections in the state.
The police boss advised the parties to obtain permission from the command before organizing events to enable it provide security, and reiterated the command’s commitment to provide level-playing field to all candidates.
In their separate remarks, Malam Umar Bello, Organizing Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, assured of the readiness of the party and its candidates to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
Bello lamented the indiscriminate removal of the party’s candidates’ posters by unidentified persons, and called on the police to check the trend.
Also, Alhaji Mukhtra Abdallah, the state’s Chairman, Independent Political Advisory Committee (IPAC), said the committee would organize a forum to sensitize its members to election processes.
Abdallah commended the command for organising the meeting, adding that the gesture would facilitate conduct of peaceful elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by representatives of political parties, aspirants, police and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).