By Muhammad Nasir
Sokoto, March 3, 2023
Non-state actors bearing arms and ammunition in Sokoto State during the electoral process would face the full wrath of the law.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Muhammed Gumel, gave the warning on Friday in Sokoto at the inauguration of “Operation Eyeball-to-Eyeball’’ by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
“Operation Eyeball-to-Eyeball’’ is to manage election violence ahead of the March 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Gumel, also chairman of ICCES in Sokoto State said the warning became necessary following security breaches by supporters of two leading political parties in the state.
“This development is sequel to the recent display of weapons by political thugs and supporters of the two leading political parties in the state.
“The first was on Feb. 28 by supporters of the All Progressives Congress while celebrating electoral victory, but embarrassingly ignored the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
“On March 2, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) subsequently overreacted by gathering hunters and other none-state actors to brandish weapons in a disparate electoral victory.
“The political parties’ actions could have led to loss of lives but for swift responses by security agencies,’’ he said.
Gumel added that an agreement was reached at an emergency meeting held with heads of security agencies, the APC and the PDP for the launch of “Operation Kule Chas’’ in Sokoto.
He warned that non-state actors and quasi-security outfits in the state and in local government areas have no right to bear arms, particularly in the electoral processes.
“The intention of some politicians to deploy agents to suppress voters or undermining security agencies has come to the full knowledge of security agencies in the state.
“It was on this note that security managers and representatives of both political parties were invited to the emergency meeting.
“Any individual or group found violating the laws of the land will be dealt with. The window for dialogue as it used to be in the past is closed,’’ he charged.
Gumel warned also that any surety wanting to secure the bail of those arrested for bearing arms and ammunition illegally before, during and after the election would be arrested for sabotage.
He reiterated the assurance of security agencies in the state to ensure safety at all times.