The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and all States’ Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the federation to provide round-the-clock security for the celebration of democracy day, so that the ceremonies will be held without any breach to public peace or safety of the citizenry.
In a release signed yesterday by the Force Spokesperson, Mr. Frank Mba, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), the IG also directed all Zonal AIGs and State Command Commissioners of Police to ensure an effective and efficient deployment of all operational manpower and tools at the disposal of their respective commands.
He further directed the AIG Border Patrol to ensure that the nation’s borders are effectively manned to prevent any cross-border crime and AIG Air-Wing to provide aerial patrol for the FCT and other States.
While saluting the courage and gallantry of officers and men of the Force in protecting the nation’s thriving democracy, Abubakar charged Police personnel to continue to subordinate themselves to civil authority and give maximum respect to the fundamental rights of the citizenry.
He advised them to remain politically neutral and steer clear of partisan politics in line with the professional ethics of the Force, and warned that officers found meddling in local politics within or outside their areas of jurisdiction will be appropriately sanctioned.
The Chief cop equally pledged the unalloyed loyalty of the Nigeria Police Force to the Government and people of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Senator David Mark, yesterday reviewed the democratic journey of the nation and submitted that there was no alternative to democracy as a system of government.
Mark in a goodwill message to Nigerians contained in a statement to commemorate this year’s democracy day, said irrespective of some shortcomings, Nigerians have by choice and design, accepted the democratic culture.
Mark said that Nigeria as a nation had overcome the teething problems of democracy and was ready to move on.
”We had the initial birth pain of this democratic arrangement. Fourteen years after, I can submit that we have matured; we are consolidating and moving on.
“Differences of political affiliation or religion, notwithstanding no Nigerian can deny the fact that democracy is now the way of life," he said.
And Senator Bukola Saraki, representing Kwara Central senatorial district urged politicians to continue to be more united and courageous to ensure the current nascent democracy to grow for other nations to emulate.
Saraki in a statement issued yesterday noted that democracy remains a major tool for even development of the nation.
According to him, "we must continue to come together in unity of purpose to ensure a well deserved democratic rule after a long and tough military rule".
He said: "In every corner of our country, this special day reminds us of the valor, vision and dream of passionate Nigerians from all parts of the country that worked together for the democracy growth of the nation".
Saraki added that: "The last 14 years have been filled with many challenges, the nation has been faced with tough times- yet our history shows these are not insurmountable, we only need to draw the perseverance of those before us; like I said many months ago, our dark days as a nation are over and the bright days are here", adding that “As we guide our nation into our bright future and come together in the enduring spirit to begin that work anew; we must defend and sustain this hard won democracy, we must be courageous, determined and strive to put a democracy in place that other nations can emulate."
On his part, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, an elderstatesman, expressed satisfaction that Nigeria’s democracy had survived 14 uninterrupted years.
“Nigeria has joined the rank of multitudes of the international community, who are enjoying freedom, which is the most important pillar on which democracy thrives,” he said.
While speaking with journalists yesterday in Kano, Yakassai stressed that “What is required of us for now is to defend that freedom with all the powers at our disposal, and we hope that the incumbent leadership of the country’s Electoral Commission will strive to add value to our freedom of choice, so that every vote cast in any election shall count.”
And still talking about hope, the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, said the nation had passed through a very dark tunnel in the past few years as a result of the activities of undesirable elements bent on destroying the laudable dreams of the nation's founders, by unleashing terrorist and other violent activities on a once-peaceful and united nation.
He, however, implored Nigerians to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel as exemplified in the improvement of the security situation in the country.
He assures the nation of the preparedness of the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to continue to discharge their duties to the nation in spite of the recent drawbacks, especially the recent loss of some officers, while on active service which he described as a price the Force would continue to pay over time in protecting lives and property.
Olubolade enjoined Nigerians to give unqualified support to the President in his effort to secure the nation and provide good leadership.
In urging Nigerians to be patient, Governor of Plateau State, Chief Jonah Jang, urged Nigerians to be patient with one another “in our democratic journey”, describing the country’s return to democratic rule as “the best thing that has happened to us.”
Jang disclosed this in his Democracy Day message wherein he urged Nigerians to appreciate the nation’s path to greatness as evidenced by the developmental strides in terms of infrastructural provision and wealth creation witnessed across the country.
Jang also called for unity amongst the citizenry and advised Nigerians to promote peaceful co-existence in order for the ideals of its founding fathers to be achieved.