Ban On Rallies At Airports: APC Accuses Police Of Selective Enforcement
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the police of engaging in a selective enforcement of its ban on political, socio-cultural and religious rallies at the nation's airports, saying this does not speak well for the 2015 general elections when the police is expected to be neutral and professional in carrying out its duties.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the police was wrong to have allowed the PDP to flout the ban with impunity on Feb.
1, when hundreds of the party's members thronged the Bauchi Airport to welcome the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu.
It said a video footage of the reception showed PDP supporters, cultural troops and praise singers besieging the airport and even surrounding the plane just like passengers would have surrounded a 'Molue' in a bus stop.
APC said armed policemen at the airport looked on as the ban, which was contained in a statement issued by Force Spokesman Frank Mba on Nov.
, was flouted by the PDP.
According to APC, ''The questions to ask are: Is the ban not applicable to the PDP? If it is applicable to it, what have 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?'' The party said the double standard being exhibited by the police is the reason many Nigerians are saying the Nigeria Police Force has 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.
SAINT MUGAGA, ABUJA.