Kayode Egbetokun, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has made a strategic redeployment of Mohammed Barde, the Commissioner of Police in Imo, in anticipation of the upcoming governorship election in the state.
Several stakeholders, including the Labour Party (LP) and various civil society organizations (CSOs), had strongly advocated for the removal of Commissioner Barde due to his alleged involvement in an incident where Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), was assaulted.
On November 1, Ajaero was reportedly apprehended by heavily armed police officers at the Imo council secretariat of the NLC in Owerri. Following his arrest, he was subjected to physical violence and blindfolded, according to reports.
However, the Imo police command vehemently denied these allegations, asserting that their officers had actually rescued Ajaero from a potentially dangerous situation and placed him under protective custody.
Addressing concerns about the situation at a townhall meeting on election security, the IGP announced that Commissioner Barde would be temporarily replaced for the duration of the election to ensure a neutral environment.
The IGP stated, “I am aware of the allegations circulating on social media concerning the Commissioner of Police in Imo State. However, for the upcoming election, we have decided to reassign the Commissioner of Police in Imo. This change is not necessarily an admission of guilt regarding those allegations but is primarily aimed at maintaining neutrality during the election.”
In summary, the IGP has redeployed the Commissioner of Police in Imo as a precautionary measure to ensure a fair and unbiased atmosphere for the forthcoming governorship election. This move addresses concerns raised by various groups while emphasizing the importance of neutrality in the electoral process.