Police Commission Ignores CSOs Call for Removal of Barde, Retains Him as Imo CP

Police Commission

Despite the clamour by Civil Society Organization, CSOs for the redeployment of Mohammed Ahmed Barde, the Commissioner of Police, Imo State Police Command for allegedly presiding over rogue policing, the Police hierarchy has retained the CP.

In a release on Tuesday, the Police Service Commission (PSC) had approved the appointment of 12 Commissioners of Police to different State Commands across the Country.

The new Commissioners of Police are; Mohammed Usaini Gumel posted to Kano State Command; Haruna Gabriel  Garba; Federal Capital Territory, FCT Command Abuja; Tajudeen A. Abass, Delta Command; Oladimeji Yomi Olarewaju, Ogun Command; Taiwo Jesubiyi, Ondo Command and Julius A. Okoro; Benue Command.

Others are: Romokere Ibiani, Bayelsa Command; Mohammed Bunu, Yobe Command; Garba Musa Yusuf,  Kaduna Command; Garba Ahmed, Zamfara Command; Hayatu Kaigama Ali, Sokoto Command and Aliyu Musa, Katsina Command.

The commission made no mention of the Imo commissioner.

According to the statement by the PSC Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Solomon Arase, called for greater dedication to national duty from the new State Command Commissioners.

Arase said the new posting comes with a lot of commitment and innovativeness and demands total loyalty to the nation.

The CSOs had earlier on Monday accused CP Barde of presiding over rogue policing as CP Imo and for his alleged partisanship, superintending over electoral violence and misconduct during the Adamawa governorship election.

In a petition signed by over 11 CSOs in Imo state and other parts of the country, they noted President Muhammadu Buhari’s commendable directive to the Inspector General of Police, Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), to investigate the role of their officers in aiding and abetting the conduct/actions of Barr. Hudu Yunusa Ari, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Adamawa State during the Adamawa governorship election.

“The president also ordered that if found culpable, appropriate disciplinary actions, must be meted out to the erring officers.

“The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, Mr. Barde who was involved in the Adamawa election debacle has been the Commissioner of Police, Imo State since April, 2022.

“The details of Barde’s inglorious role in the electoral charade that marred the Adamawa governorship election, resulting to the Inspector General of Police ordering him to “pull out” from the state and, in his stead, dispatching the CP of Gombe state, CP Etim Equa, to Adamawa to restore order and ensure the peaceful conclusion of the disrupted election is fully out there in the public space, and needs no rehashing.

“Mr. Barde also displayed partisanship during the Presidential and State Assembly elections in Imo State in utter violation of the Standard Operational Guidelines for Law Enforcement Agents on Election Duty.

“That a Commissioner of Police who was detailed to ensure electoral security in a state could be withdrawn midway from that state owing to his involvement in electoral crimes and malfeasance which undermined the process speaks volumes,” they said.

The CSOs noted that the development lends credence to the ‘loud and longstanding outcry in Imo State where Mr. Barde as CP has been repeatedly accused of partisanship and superintending over rogue policing, which manifested in the electoral violence, suppression and manipulations that characterized the recent presidential and governorship elections in Imo state, which gave undue advantage to the ruling party.’

They accused Barde of being the hatchet man for the Imo State governor.

According to them, some Police officers in Imo State command under Barde have been implicated in several unprofessional and criminal conducts, including harassment, intimidation and attacks on political opposition members.

“They have been involved in framing opposition politicians with false charges with some ending up being remanded in prison over baseless and frivolous allegations of terrorism.

“The houses of some opposition members have been attacked and people killed in the process. Despite CCTV clips revealing some police officers whose identities are well known, CP Barde has done nothing to investigate and bring the bandits to account.

“During the recent House of Assembly elections in Imo State, a combination of political thugs loyal to the governor, members of the governor’s hit squad operating from the Imo State government house and some police operatives working in cahoots were seen operating with Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) prowling from one polling unit to another across the state, attacking people, disrupting votes and carting away ballot boxes and ballot papers.

“They were alleged to have mass thump-printed ballot papers and stuffed them into the snatched ballot boxes. False and inflated results were announced in favor of the ruling party. The ruling party was declared winner in virtually all the elections, including polling units where elections were alleged not to have been allowed to hold.

“INEC kowtowed to these acts of electoral banditry, endorsed and announced the fraudulent results and has yet to heed calls to investigate widespread allegations of election violence, vote rigging and declaration of false results.

“Reports by different local and international election observation groups highlighted Imo State among the states where election violence were more pronounced.

“The heads of some police units under the Imo State Police Headquarters are known to work on the directives of the governor’s security aides and hit men, and are used to harass, intimidate, arrest, detain, torture and extort citizens especially young people accused of being IPOB/ESN members, in many cases without evidence.

“Young people are still randomly arrested, their phones searched and those who ask questions are brutalized and assaulted with machetes.

“Detainees in police cells, some of whom carry bullet wounds, are held incommunicado in very cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions. Many have disappeared, are executed or die as a result of not being treated for injuries resulting from torture. Yet, the CP does not respond to petitions about these egregious human rights violations,” they said.

The CSOs insisted that to return CP Barde to Imo State is to do a grave disservice to the people of Imo State.

According to them, “it will mean extending the misery of a people who have for long suffered unmitigated oppression and subjugation in the hands of the Police under Barde working as a partisan and a stooge for Governor Hope Uzodinma.”

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