CLAIM: On the 16th of October 2021, Fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) came across a viral picture of a policeman casting vote at the State Congress elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which was held the same day in Kano State. Jaafaru Askilu Jnr, a Facebook user is the first to post the picture which is currently trending on social media. The Observer Times, an online media platform reported it the next day with the caption, “PHOTONEWS: Nigerian Police Inspector Caught On Camera Casting Vote At Kano State APC Congress”. In the viral picture, the officer was seen beside Abdullahi Abbas, the re-elected Chairman of the party in the State.
FACT-CHECK PROCESS: Investigations to determine if the policeman actually participated in the State Congress by voting returned positive.
The Nigerian Police High Command has reacted by ordering a probe of the officer.
In a statement signed by the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer in charge of Zone One in Kano, DSP Abubakar Zayyanu Ambursa, the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of the zone, Abubakar Sadiq Bello has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation.
The AIG, according to the statement, described the act, which happened at the Sani Abacha stadium, the venue of the Congress, as unprofessional. The Nigerian Police High Command identified the police officer as Bashir Mohammed, an Inspector attached to the Government House, Kano, from where he was deployed to work with the State APC chairman as a security aide.
The ZPPRO noted that appropriate disciplinary measures would be taken against the inspector if he is found to have committed a disciplinary offense by his action with a promise to intimate members of the public as the matter progresses.
“The attention of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone One Headquarters, Kano has been drawn to a trending picture on social media, of an inspector of police casting vote at the recently conducted Kano State Congress of the APC along with his principal, the state party chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas.
“The inspector of police has been identified as Bashir Mohammed of the Special Protection Unit, Base One, Kano. The inspector is attached to Government House, Kano from where he was deployed to work with the said Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas as a security aide.
“In view of this seemingly unprofessional conduct of the inspector, the AIG has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation. If the inspector is found to have committed a disciplinary offence by this action, appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken against him.
“Finally, we want to assure members of the public that further development on the matter will be communicated please”, the statement reads.
To secure the electoral process in Nigeria, the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) was put together with the mandate of;
- Ensuring the safety and security of all persons and properties that will be involved before, during, and after the voting exercise without bias;
- Strict enforcement of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Criminal/Penal Code as well as Electoral laws; and
- Traffic and crowd management at venues of Political Parties’ conventions/congresses, campaigns/rallies, and other activities relating to the elections.
The Committee came up with a Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement to guide members and their personnel while on electoral duties. Electoral duties refer to activities related to elections as established by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), including but not limited to voting at elections, collation of results, and political party campaigns and rallies.
Under Section 7.0 of the document titled, “Procedures/Rules on Management of Political Parties’ Conventions, Rallies, Campaigns and Crowd Control on Voting Day”, Sub-section 7.3 clearly states that “Involvement of the officers at political gatherings shall be limited to the maintenance of peace and order and enforcement of extant laws”.
Also, appendix 3 which captures “Police Regulation 340: The Attribute of a Police Officer” states in Section 2.3 (d)that a police officer should develop the attribute of “Integrity, in refusing to allow religious, racial, political or personal feelings, or other considerations to influence him in the execution of his duties”.
Section 2.5 which captures “Police Regulation 353: General Conduct of Police Officers” states, “A Police Officer shall not conduct himself in such manner as to bring his private interests into conflict with his public duties or in such manner as is likely to cause suspicion in the mind of any reasonable person that he has:
- Allowed his private interests to come into conflict with his public duties; or
- Used his public position for his private advantage.”
Section 4.0 “ECOWAS Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy” under Appendix 5 captions Article 19 (1a) in Sub-section 4.1 as follows:
- Armed Forces of Nigeria and Nigeria Police shall be non-partisan and shall remain loyal to the Nation; and
- The Police and other security shall be responsible for the maintenance of law and order and protection of person and their properties.
All the citations above go to prove that the said Inspector Bashir was not in any way supposed to participate in the Kano State Congress as this act is in breach of the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Election Duty.
CONCLUSION: Relying on the content of the statement issued by the Zone One Headquarters in Kano, CDD can confirm that the viral picture claiming that a policeman voted in the just concluded APC State Congress in Kano is true.
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