The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, said Wednesday that the police are investigating some governors for allegedly inciting the public against the federal government over the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Mr Baba stated this while briefing journalists after the National Security Council meeting at the State House.
He said the constitutional immunity enjoyed by governors will not stop the ongoing investigation, but added that the police may not be able to go ahead with prosecution.
He noted that despite the immunity, the police will issue warnings to those governors for them to desist from incitement.
“Investigation, we are investigating. Whoever does anything can be investigated, but for him to be prosecuted, there are people who have immunity. I think that is one of the reasons. But that will not stop us from cautioning them, from warning them and from advising them and we are doing so. That’s for incitement by governors,” Mr Baba said in response to a question asked by journalists.
The naira policy of the CBN and the scarcity associated with it has pitched President Muhammadu Buhari against some governors in the country.
The decision of the president to disregard the directive by the Supreme Court on the legal status of the old N1,000 and N500 has further exacerbated the open confrontation by some governors that have directed residents of their states to ignore the directive of the president on the CBN policy.
Although Mr Baba did not name the governors being investigated, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa and Dapo Abiodun told residents of their states to continue to spend the old notes in line with the directive of the Supreme Court. In some instances, some governors have threatened to revoke the certificate of occupancy of banks that refuse the old notes in compliance to the federal government’s directive.
Amidst the raging controversy on the issue, the scarcity of the naira has worsened and banks have become the target of attacks. In Ogun State, about 10 bank buildings have been burnt.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the case filed by the governors till 3 March.
Why we deployed personnel to Lagos, Ogun — Akali
Speaking further, Mr Baba said there is a joint security operation on the streets of Lagos and Ogun State to ensure stability ahead of the Saturday’s elections.
He noted that security personnel are not targeted at any individual or political party.
“These are joint operations, aimed at stabilising the internal security order before the election. These are not operations that are targeted at the election, but it is targeted at stabilising the situation, especially the one that came up as a result of the currency swap or whatever we can call it, where people go on vandalizing, destroying and even committing arson and so on and so forth.
“So this is what is required to bring down the situation, stabilise it, but on the election day, you will not see them at the polling stations,” he said.
Mr Baba also reiterated that the police and armed forces are ready for the general elections, stating that they have assured the security council of readiness for the election.
He noted that the navy, army and air force are ready to support the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a peaceful election.
Elections will go on as planned — Malami
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in his speech, said the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, assured the security council that the commission is ready to conduct the elections.
He stated that all security agencies and the armed forces briefed the council on their preparedness ahead of the election.
“National Security Adviser made a submission; Chief of Defense Staff made one; Chief of Army Staff made submission; Chief of Naval Staff made submission, Chief of Air Staff did; Inspector-General of Police, who incidentally is equally addressing you, made submission; Director-General, State Security Service did; and indeed DG NIA and CDI all made submissions.
“The summary and conclusion of all submissions was to the effect that the system is wholeheartedly ready for the conduct of the election and arising therefrom, the position of the government, the position of the president is to the effect that the election is holding of the 25th day of February, 2023.
“And Mr President and the National Security Council are happy with the preparations on the ground and wholehearted arrangements are put in place in that direction,” he said.
The raging crisis arising from the CBN policy and the attendant scarcity of the new bank notes have caused fears that the elections may be postponed.
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