There is an ongoing plot to derail the May 29 transfer of power, Inspector-General of Police Usman Alkali Baba alerted the nation yesterday.
He vowed that by working in collaboration with other security and intelligence agencies, such plots will be crushed.
The warning is coming on the heels of a previous one by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
President elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu who won the February 25 poll, is billed to take office on May 29 as Nigeria’s fifth president of the Fourth Republic.
Three candidates are in court challenging his victory. Apart from the court action, many of those who felt aggrieved as a result of the loss of the preferred candidate have been making incendiary remarks on the outcome of the poll widely seen as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s electoral history.
The IG said the police and the intelligence community cannot fold their hands and allow the subversive agenda, political radicalism and extremism to unleash tension and derail the orderly transfer of power.
The DSS had warned against a plot to set aside the constitution and install an interim government after May 29 by misguided elements.
Although he refrained from naming the plotters, DSS Spokesman Dr. Peter Afunanya, in a statement, warned those behind the conspiracy to thwart democracy to retrace their steps.
Alkali, who maintained that May 29 is sacrosanct, said those who are not satisfied with the outcome of the January 25 poll should stop heating up the polity.
He said: “Following the successful conclusion of the 2023 general elections, it has been observed that some major political actors that the outcome did not favour, have been issuing public threats that are directed at instigating actions to frustrate the presidential inauguration on May 29.
“The Nigeria Police and the national intelligence community have been closely monitoring the activities of these political elites as well as other elements who have formed themselves into unpatriotic brands whose only fantasy, in recent times, is to subvert our national security interests.
“In so doing, they seem to be bent on deploying extra-judicial and undemocratic means to truncate our democratic heritage in the advancement of their narrow personal political considerations.
“The 29th May 2023 date for the swearing-in ceremony of the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed, other inauguration ceremonies at national and state levels, are sacrosanct.”
Alkali said at this stage of democratic transition, the peace and security of Nigeria should be sustained.
He said while the police, in synergy with other security agencies and the intelligence community, continues to closely monitor the activities of these political elements, it has become expedient to issue the stern warning.
The IGP said: “Firstly, the Nigeria Police hereby sternly warns all political actors with subversive agenda and their collaborators, particularly, their foot soldiers who they are exposing to political radicalisation and extremism should, henceforth, jettison their ongoing premeditated attempts to create tension within the national space with intention of derailing the 29th May 2023 presidential inauguration ceremony.
“Secondly, any such persons, regardless of their political affiliations, who continuously engage in acts that are inimical to our nation’s democratic and security interests, should not be in doubt on the firm determination of the Nigeria Police under my watch to closely collaborate with the law enforcement family and the intelligence community to defend our democracy, keep the internal security order stable and optimally deploy our common unique assets towards guaranteeing the successful conduct of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.
“Thirdly, we note that the inauguration ceremonies at all the national and state levels of government are a critical constitutional requirement for the sustenance of our political order as a nation and the Nigeria Police is duty and legally bound to defend our democratic heritage and closely police the constitutional processes.
“Consequently, I assure the citizens that our loyalty to our democratic and political order remains firm and unwavering. We will defend our democracy at all costs.”
Alkali said the police have the mandate to secure governance and ensure the successful inauguration of elected public officers at all levels.
Stressing that the police will undertake the tasks optimally and manifestly, he said:
“Anybody that stands in the way will be identified, promptly isolated, and brought to deserved justice in the overriding interest of our national security and stable political order.”
Alkali urged Nigerians to be mindful of the antics of political elements who may want to manipulate their political passion to advance parochial, undemocratic, and unconstitutional objectives.
He added: “They should resist such, go about their lawful businesses and prepare to be part of the advancement of our democratic journey as patriotic citizens by freely participating in the inauguration ceremonies, assured that the Nigeria Police have acquired adequate assets to guarantee their protection.
“They are also encouraged to promptly report any attempts by the misguided political elements to infiltrate their ranks and engender political tension in the country for appropriate law enforcement response”.
The IGP also urged the international community not to be swayed by the ill-informed actions of unpatriotic political actors who may be creating false red flags through social media.
He said Nigeria’s democracy was on course and that the country’s security order remains stable: “and the presidential inauguration will be held as scheduled under a very peaceful atmosphere”.
IGP appealed to the media practitioners to also be wary of the intentions of these political gladiators and resist the urge to deploy their credible outlets to advance their destabilisation plots.
He said: “Nigeria remains our national heritage and working together, we should continue to advance and place her interests over and above parochial personal or group interests.”
Inauguration constitutional, says Agbakoba
Also yesterday, a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), said it would be unconstitutional for the inauguration not to hold on May 29.
He said in a statement: “It is important to state that the inauguration of Mr Bola Tinubu on 29 May 2023 is bound to happen under our constitutional process.
“While the election tribunal deals with the petitions, there is no constitutional process to delay the inauguration on 29 May. We need to obey the rule of constitutionalism.” (Nation)