The All Progressives Congress on Sunday accused the police of selective enforcement of its ban on political, socio-cultural and religious rallies at the nation’s airports.
The party said this did not augur well for the 2015 general elections which required the police to be neutral and professional in carrying out their duties.
This was contained in a statement by the APC’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
According to the party, the police are wrong to have allowed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to flout the ban with impunity on February 1, when hundreds of the party’s members trooped to the Bauchi Airport to welcome the new PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu.
The party said a video footage of the reception showed PDP supporters, their 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.
It observed that armed policemen stationed at the airport looked on as the ban, which was contained in a statement issued by the force spokesman, Frank Mba, on November 6, 2013, was being flouted by the PDP members.
“The questions to ask are: Is the ban not applicable to the PDP? If it is applicable to it, what has 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 their order banning rallies at airports?” the APC asked.
The party said the double standard being exhibited by the police was the reason many Nigerians were saying that the Nigeria Police Force had turned itself to the enforcement arm of the PDP or that the force had even merged with the party.
The statement read in part, “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 themselves and wear down their own authority when they pander to the PDP, whereas the force is being maintained by 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.”
The APC said it was waiting for the police to either appropriately sanction the PDP for contravening their orders or immediately lift the ban on rallies at the airports.
It warned that failure to act on this demand would show the police as a partisan and unprofessional force that could not be relied upon to adequately provide security and help to ensure a level-playing field for all parties in the forthcoming general elections, let alone carrying out its constitutional role.”
The police could not be reached for comments, as the Force Public Relations Officer, Mba, did not respond to calls to his mobile phone. Also, a text message sent to him did not elicit any reply as of the time of filing this report (8.45pm).