A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has called for the removal of the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ahmed Barde, from Imo State, requesting that an investigation into his unprofessional activities be carried out.
This is contained in a press statement dated July 17, 2023.
While the newly deployed Commissioners of Police have resumed duties in their respective states, the new CP for Imo State, Stephen Olarewaju, as the coalition noted, is yet to take up his position. This has raised concerns and curiosity among observers, especially considering the ongoing investigation into the outgoing CP’s alleged misconduct during the Adamawa governorship election.
It will be recalled that Nigeria’s former Inspector-General of Police IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, had queried Mr Barde over the illegal declaration of Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the 2023 governorship election in Adamawa State.
Mr Barde, the CP in Imo State then, served as the police commissioner on election duty in Adamawa for the governorship election.
He was one of the three service commanders who allegedly assisted the embattled Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), Hudu Yunusa-Ari, to declare the APC candidate, Ms Binani, as the winner of the poll before the conclusion of collation of results.
The query, addressed to Mr Barde, highlighted his failure to fulfil his duties and accused him of conspiring with the Electoral Commissioner to commit electoral offences. The letter also criticised his actions for undermining public trust and tarnishing the reputation of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The totality of your actions, which were captured in viral videos, generated public outcry and condemnation, portrayed the Force in an extremely negative light, and would have occasioned an enormous crisis in the state if not for the prompt deployment of reinforcements.
“You have therefore undoubtedly debased the exalted rank of Commissioner of Police and brought the image of the Force to an all-time low,” the letter reads in part.
Despite being replaced as CP in Imo State, Mr Barde remains in the state, leading to speculation that Governor Hope Uzodinma wants him to ‘oversee’ the forthcoming gubernatorial election in November 2023.
The CSOs stated that Mr Barde‘s tenure as CP in Imo State was characterised by incompetence, partisanship, unabated insecurity, and numerous human rights violations. They added that there were reports of police harassment, intimidation of Governor Uzodinma’s political opponents, and incidents of violence against citizens.
They, therefore, urged the relevant authorities to ensure disciplinary sanctions against Mr Barde and his immediate removal from Imo State.
The Imo State government and relevant authorities have yet to respond to the allegations against Mr Barde, the rumours surrounding his retention, and the concerns raised regarding his appointment as CP.