IGP, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, Thursday seconded two Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs), an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and a Commissioner of Police to Ondo State as part of efforts at shoring up security in the state ahead of tomorrow’s crucial gubernatorial election.
The new officers will remain in the state until the conclusion of the election and announcement of results, THISDAY learnt.
The temporary changes, which also affected the leadership of the state police command, saw the redeployment of Mohammed Ndabawa, currently the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, to Ondo State as its temporary head.
He will be replaced in Rivers State by Mr. Danladi Mshebwala, who until yesterday, was the head of the Ondo State Police Command.
Also, the DIG Operations, Mr. Philemon Leha; the DIG ‘G’ Department, Intelligence, Abdurahman Akano; and AIG Orubebe Ebikeme, Zone 11, Osogbo, will be in the state to oversee security during the election.
Equally moved to the state on special assignment from the Force Headquarters were three other Commissioners of Police—Anti Terrorism, Anti-Bomb Unit and Special Protection Unit.
Sources said the IG, as part of his operational programmes, decided to effect the changes to insulate the police from pernicious blame and propaganda by politicians in the state.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) had last week urged Abubakar to redeploy the state police boss whom it accused of having a cosy relationship with the ruling Labour Party (LP), whose candidate, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, is seeking a second term in office.
ACN Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, at a campaign rally held in Ore last Thursday, alleged that the police chief could not be trusted to be neutral during the election.
However, THISDAY learnt that the redeployment of the police boss was done without prejudice to his competence, but was part of the operational guidelines of the police force to protect its image.
However, those redeployed from the state will resume full operations immediately after the declaration of final results of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On Wednesday, the IG had announced the restriction of movement and the stripping of all political office holders in the state of their police orderlies until after the election.
Abubakar and the Police Service Commission (PSC) had warned policemen and officers against untoward behaviour during the election.
Deputy Force Public Relations Officer (DFPRO), Mr. Frank Mba, a Chief Superintendent of Police, in a statement had said the IG took these decisions to ensure “a free, fair and peaceful election.”
According to him, the restriction of movement began from 6 pm yesterday to 6 am today in Akure, the state capital, while there will be restriction of movement from 6 pm today until Sunday morning in the entire state.