The All Progressives Congress, APC, has accused the police of selective enforcement of its ban on political, socio-cultural and religious rallies at the nation’s airports, saying this does not augur well for the 2015 general elections, when the police is expected to be neutral and professional in the discharge of its duties.
APC in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, in Lagos on Sunday, said the police was wrong to have allowed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to flout the ban with impunity on February 1st, when hundreds of the party’s members thronged the Bauchi airport to welcome the new PDP chairman, Adamu Mu’azu.
The opposition party’s spokesperson said a video footage of the reception showed PDP supporters, cultural troupes and praise singers besieging the airport and even milling around the plane just like passengers would have surrounded a ‘Molue’ in a bus stop, noting that armed policemen present at the airport looked the other way as the ban, which was contained in a statement issued by force spokesperson, Frank Mba on November 6th, was flouted by the PDP.
“The questions to ask are: Is the ban not applicable to the PDP? If it is applicable to it, what has the police done to sanction the party since it breached the order over two weeks ago? If the police will allow the PDP to get away with such lawlessness, can the same police sanction any other party or individual who breaches its order banning rallies at airports?” it queried.
The party further claimed that the double standard being displayed by the police is the reason many Nigerians are accusing it of having turned itself to the enforcement arm of the PDP or that the force has even merged with the party.
“This does not augur well for the image of the police and it sends a wrong signal about whether the police can be neutral and professional before, during and after the 2015 elections. It also raises doubt about the ability of the police to effectively carry out its constitutional duty of ensuring the protection of lives and property.
“The police ridicules itself and wears down its own authority when it panders to the PDP, whereas the force is being maintained by the tax payers, whether or not they belong to the ruling party. The police, more than perhaps any other government agency, should know that no one, no matter how highly placed, is above the law, and that lawful orders from the police are not for selective enforcement.
“We are therefore waiting for the police to either appropriately sanction the PDP for contravening its orders or immediately lift the ban on rallies at the airports. Failure to act will show the police as a partisan and unprofessional force that cannot be relied upon to adequately provide security and help ensure a level playing field for all parties in the forthcoming general elections, not to talk of carrying out is constitutional role!” APC said.