Gov. Wamakko, Sokoto Police Draw Battle Line

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

The rosy relationship that exists between Sokoto State Command of the Nigeria Police and Sokoto state government seem to be strained with the recent exchange of bitterness against each other.

The stained relationship got worse when on Tuesday at the Police Command, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Shuaibu Lawal Gambo responded before Journalists, allegations published on the Sun newspaper of 18th January, 2015 and credited to Governor Aliyu Wamakko that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) broke the Peace Accord signed recently signed by leaders and candidates of political parties in Abuja.

In a statement signed and read out by the CP titled: “IGP DID NOT BREAK ANY PEACE ACCORD” and made available to Journalists, Gambo stated that all the accusations allegedly made by the governor were unfounded.

“It has come to the attention of the Sokoto State Police Command, comments attributed to the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji (Dr) Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko in the Sunday Sun Newspaper of 18/01/2015, to the effect that, the ‘IGP broke the peace accord’ signed between the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari [Rtd] both Presidential candidates of their respective political parties in the forth-coming elections.

“The Sokoto Police Command wishes to put on record that, all the accusations made by the Governor of Sokoto State are unfounded. It is on record that both political parties have been accused of attacking each other at different parts of the State and the Police have always lived up to its mandate and ensured that arrests of both sides are promptly carried out and suspects charged to court as the case may be,” the statement read in parts.

Gambo further stated that it was untrue to allege that the Police arrests the opposition on trumped up charges, adding that in all cases of arrests, there were complainants and victims of brutality, which made it easy for the Police to treat such cases with dispatch.

The CP alleged that “Both parties are guilty of allowing their supporters to attack each other’s offices and in all occasion, Police have promptly arrested the culprits and charged them to court.”

He cited a recent case that occurred on Thursday, 15th January 2015 where supporters of both parties clashed, leading to the death of an APC supporter against which “nine suspects were arrested and are helping the Police in its investigation.”

Gambo stressed that the IGP never interfered with the discharge of the duties of the. Command. “I wish to emphatically state that, at no time has the IGP interfered with the discharge of my duties as Commissioner of Police, Sokoto Command. It is therefore strange that, his Excellency would make such an unfounded statement concerning ‘breaking of peace accord’.

“It is feared that Governor Wamakko does not believe in the peace accord, hence he is laying the foundation for perpetrating violence in the State by accusing the Police in order to legitimize his actions in the forthcoming elections,” the CP retorted.

He added that of the more than two years he had been in the Sokoto, the Police Command had proven itself to be impartial in the discharge of its responsibilities.

“The Police shall not spare or consort with any trouble-maker, no matter his or her standing in society,” the CP stated.

However, a swift reaction by the Sokoto State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) described the Police statement as unfortunate. “It is unfortunate that statement issued by the Police sought to exonerate the IGP, Suleiman Abba for not giving the proper order to Police to ensure law and order in Sokoto,” the party said.

The Zonal National Vice Chairman (Northwest) of the APC, Barrister Inuwa Abdulkadir in the reaction observed that the Police statement only “portrayed unbridled bias towards the PDP in Sokoto State.”

He further recalled that a top PDP chieftain recently told a rally in Sokoto that “the PDP has Police, Department of State Security (DSS), soldiers’ as such they will deploy everything they can to capture Sokoto,” adding, “We have already started seeing the result of that threat.”

It further cited the concern of Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar expressed before President Jonathan on Monday for “the need to ensure law and order and peaceful polls in the state.”

“It should be noted however that the Sokoto State Government, and all men of goodwill within the state and outside, will not tolerate any affront on their dignity from the Police or the PDP.

“The Police must respect all constituted authorities, desist from aiding the PDP to achieve cheap political vendetta and must double their efforts to end impunity as the campaign season continues,” APC’s statement added.

The party stated that “Sokoto State Government and the APC would work closely with all security agencies to ensure that law and order was maintained before, during and after the 2015 elections.”

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