The Special Adviser to Gov. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo/General Manager of the Gombe state Environmental Protection Agency (GOSEPA), Alhaji Nasiru Haruna has confirmed the removal of posters and billboards of President Muhammadu Buhari on the streets of Gombe but explained that it got its clearance from the Gombe State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State had over the weekend, accused the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) government of Gov. Dankwambo of political persecution and infringement of their rights to political association.
The party gave a ten day ultimatum to the State Government to return the billboards after it said that its members have become apprehensive of the political bias of the State Government and the violence foisted on them by the State Marshals which may likely cause breach of public peace in the State.
But the General Manager and Special Adviser to the Governor, GOSEPA, who is also the Chairman of the State Task Force Committee on Environmental Sanitation and other related matters said the Governor had to consult with INEC before embarking on the removal of the posters and billboards.
According to him, “Please go to INEC and ask if it is time for campaigns. We have many laws, please go and confirm from INEC. Before the government formed this committee, I’m fully aware that the Governor directed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to get some clearance from INEC before forming this committee. I believe the Government did it. So that question should be passed to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC, he will highlight you more”, when asked the fault in joint posters with President Buhari.
Alhaji Nasiru said, “We have removed that poster and I am ready to exhibit it to you now, His Excellency has directed that any joint poster should be removed, he has respect for the President of Nigeria and Gombe is his constituency, but anybody who makes a joint poster and places it without authority should remove that poster.
“It is not true that we are harassing the opposition party by removing their posters. Even anybody who joins in a poster with the Governor, we do remove it. If you want to contest in any party, do your own poster and follow due process”, he stressed.
He gave the mandate of the seven-man Task Force Committee which includes him as; enforce/remove any illegal/unauthorized bill boards, banners, notice boards, posters and their likes within the State.
The Committee was also mandated to co-opt any security outfit in exercising their function within the state and commence duty with immediate effect. The function of the committee will be relieved by His Excellency the Governor whenever he deems fit.
Members of the seven-man Task force Committee comprise of two representatives from the Gombe State Agency for Social Services, the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and Haruna Umar Malala, Director of Finance and Supply at GOSEPA who is the secretary of the task force.