Ahead of the November 11, 2023, governorship election in Imo State, the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun has ordered the immediate redeployment of the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
According to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, on Sunday, the IG’s decision to redeploy the CP underscored the police gorce’s dedication to upholding the rule of law and maintaining strict neutrality throughout the electoral proceedings.
Adejobi said, “This redeployment is not an indictment on the affected officer but is rather part of a broader strategy aimed at bolstering security measures, promoting transparency, and upholding the integrity of the electoral security management.
“The IG is resolute in ensuring that a secure environment is provided for all stakeholders, political parties, candidates, and citizens to participate in the electoral process. He urges all and sundry to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies and adhere to the law in order to ensure a smooth and successful election while maintaining the principles of democracy.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that ahead of the Saturday, November 11 off-season elections, Egbetokun, had Sunday evening, promised to redeploy Barde, over alleged partisanship.
He spoke days after the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, the Labour Party, and Civil Society Organisations, called for Barde’s redeployment.
Egbetokun made the development known Sunday night during a Channels Television programme themed “Peoples Town Hall On Election Security,” which was monitored by our correspondent.
Egbetokun said, “We are aware that there are allegations against the Commissioner of Police in Imo. Before the elections, we’re changing the CP. This is not to say the CP has been found guilty. But for neutrality sake, we are changing the Commissioner of Police in Imo State.”
The PUNCH reports that following the attack on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, in Owerri, the Imo State capital last Thursday, the organised labour had issued a five-day ultimatum for Barde’s redeployment.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party had also expressed its support for calls made for the immediate redeployment of the CP and other officials allegedly involved in the recent attack on Ajaero in the state.
Ajaero, was attacked and brutalised in Owerri, on Wednesday, while he mobilised workers for a protest over their unpaid salaries brutalised.
Amidst the widespread outrage that followed the incident, the NLC and the TUC had accused the Imo CP of being complicit in the attack and threatened a five-day ultimatum for the Federal Government to replace him.