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Imo Commissioner of Police removed days to guber poll

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, on Sunday announced the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Mohammed Barde.
The IGP said the decision to redeploy the CP was to “underscores the Police Force’s unwavering dedication to upholding the rule of law and maintaining strict neutrality throughout the electoral proceedings”.
This is coming barely six days to the November 11 governorship election in the state and following ride outcry for Barde’s removal over allegations of compromise in favour of the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Speaking on Sunday on Channels Television’s People’s Townhall on Election Security, the IGP said:
“I am aware that there have been allegations on social media against the Commissioner of Police in Imo State but for this election, we are changing the commissioner of police in Imo.”
The IGP also said the police have taken care of all the threats in the three states where election will hold on Saturday.
On Sunday, the leading candidate in the election, Senator Athan Achonu of the Labour Party, was harrased and turned back from proceeding on an engagement in a church by gun-weilding security operatives led by one Ola, who even rebuffed the Commissioner of Police.
Decrying his treatment among several other ugly cases of alleged misuse of security operatives by Governor Hope Uzodinma, Achonu demanded the immediate redeployment if the Commission we of Police and other compromised officers.
He said: “I wonder why I can’t be allowed to go and worship freely. When they stopped us, they started shooting. I came down and I accosted one notorious Ola of Tiger Base Police Owerri, an officer alleged to be part of the many attrocities happening in the state and I asked him, ‘why are you blocking our access?’ I told him I was going to expose his attrocities to the whole world. I also told him to leave the state immediately. If he (Ola) doesn’t leave this state latest Monday, then I’ll know that this government wants to annihilate us.
“I am putting the president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on notice to know what is going on here. This man wants to annihilate the entire state. He should quickly redeploy heads of security agencies because they are not obeying orders. There is a killer squad in Ohaji Egbema. They call him “Kill and Bury.” The people over there have been crying? It’s a war zone.
“Look at what they did to the NLC President. This governor is going mad.”
The attack on Achonu was coming too close to the brutalisation of the President of the Nigetian Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who was in Owerri to lead a workers’ protest over several months of unpaid salaries by police operatives allegedly doing the bidding of the state government.
Consequently, the NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, have also included  the removal of the Imo CP as one of its six demands to avert a workers’sytrike, beginning from Wednesday, November 8.
The IGP explained that the redeployment of Barde was to show it’s neutrality in the political contest in Imo.
 Furthermore, he said mopping up of arms will be periodical, before, during and after the polls.
Egbetokun said the police would respond appropriately to vote buying and all electoral offences as regards the provisions of the electoral laws and warned that anybody found engaging in vote buying would be prosecuted appropriately, adding that the policemen would be paid their allowances as and when due.
A statement was later issued  by ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters in Abuja, announcing the deployment of the Imo CP.
Text of statement:
GUBER ELECTION: IGP REDEPLOYS CP IMO.
…Reaffirms Neutrality
“In a pivotal development ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial election in Imo state on 11th November, 2023, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Ph.D., NPM, has ordered the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Mohammed Barde to the Force Headquarters on special duty.
“The IGP’s decision to reshuffle the CP underscores the Police Force’s unwavering dedication to upholding the rule of law and maintaining strict neutrality throughout the electoral proceedings. This redeployment is not an indictment on the affected officer but is rather part of a broader strategy aimed at bolstering security measures, promoting transparency, and upholding the integrity of the electoral security management.
“The IGP is resolute in ensuring that a secure environment is provided for all stakeholders, political parties, candidates, and citizens to participate in the electoral process. He urges all and sundry to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies and adhere to the law in order to ensure a smooth and successful election while maintaining the principles of democracy.”
Reacting to the development, the Senator Achonu Campaign Organisation thanked the IGP for choosing to do the right thing  and redeployed Barde.
However, it also insisted on the removal of ‘Barde’s accomplices’.
Head of Media, Chibuikem Diala, stated: “The IGP Kayode Egbetokun has done a noble deed  by rightly heeding the voice of the people and removed CP Mohammed Barde, who had made a mess if policing the state..
“It is worth noting, however, that more needs to be done. Commander Oladimeji of the Tiger Base and all of Barde’s accomplices must be removed.
“Chinasa and Takpe must also be arrested and prosecuted for being the point men for the violence visited upon Imo people.
“We also hope that Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should take a cue and cleanse his own house of the pervading filth by redeploying the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state,” Diala added.
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