The Lagos State Police Command has arrested six individuals linked to the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, for allegedly destroying campaign posters in the Ikeja area of Lagos State.
Backstory: The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police, CSP Chike Oti, said in a statement that the suspects, who are members of the ‘Take It Back Movement’ were apprehended while ripping and replacing campaign posters of other parties and candidates with those of the AAC around 2:30 am on Sunday.
Oti said the action of the suspects was against the law of the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency. He added that the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, has directed for the suspects be charged to court.
Oti said, “The anti-crime patrol team of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja Division, at around 2.30am on Sunday, December 9, 2018, arrested six young men namely: Olagokun Odunayo, Kool-kloud Henry, Ugaju Joseph, Damilola Omidiji, Michael Kate and Banwo Olagokun of the ‘Take It Back Movement’, for tearing posters of other political parties and replacing them with those of the African Action Congress contrary to the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency law that forbids advertisers from pasting posters at no other hour than the daytime.”
He added, “Recall that an agreement was reached to the effect that no political party should undertake the defacing of campaign posters of other political parties nor the destruction of their billboards at a meeting held at the Police Officers’ Mess, GRA, Ikeja, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.”
Oti said that the suspects will be charged to court on Monday, December 10th in order to serve as a deterrent for other offenders. The suspects will be facing charges of malicious damage and conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.
The AAC has since demanded the release of their comrades, who they claim were illegally arrested and detained. In a post on Facebook, the presidential candidate of the AAC called for a peaceful protest, which has since held, to that effect.
The AAC has not condemned the action of its members, rather, it is demanding the police to steer clear of partisan politics. However, the police have a responsibility to maintain law and order, something the AAC supporters were in violation of.
Bottom Line: The involvement of the police, in this case, seems more centered on maintaining law and order rather than participating in partisan politics as Sowore has alleged. If Sowore’s supporters are involved in defacing the posters of other candidates, then that is hooliganism and the law should take its cause. The police need to however apply the law fairly. There are reports of APC supporters defacing posters of candidates of other parties. Such people ought to be brought to book as well.