IG deploys 30,000 policemen, Sniffer dogs
250 patrol vehicles deployed
18 ACPs to coordinate security
Politicians’ orderlies barred from voting points
FRSC to deploy 500 men,
In what appears unprecedented in the history of elections in the country, the Police have ordered the deployment of 30,000 personnel for the Saturday, July 14 Ekiti gubernatorial poll.
The 30,000 police officers and personnel, who will provide maximum security cover for the election, are drawn from the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), the Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), Conventional Policemen, the Armament Unit, personnel of Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (FCIID) unit. Sniffer dogs from the K9 unit will also maintain visibility during and after the exercise.
The deployment will cover the 2,451 polling units and voting centres. The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of operations, Mr. Joshak Habila, is expected to lead four Commissioners of Police (CPs), eight Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs), as well as 18 Assistant Commissioners of Police, in the coordination of the security arrangements for the poll.
Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, an acting DCP, who conveyed the security plans, further disclosed that two surveillance helicopters had been designated to provide aerial cover of the state on Saturday. Other logistics and materials expected to literally lockdown the state, according to the police, include five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), 10 armoured personnel vehicles, as well as 250 patrol vehicles.
Thirty-five political parties are participating in the election. But the focus is on former governor of the state and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the Deputy Governor of the state and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Prof. Olusola Eleka. On police preparedness, Moshood said: “The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has directed that a robust and elaborate security arrangement be implemented in Ekiti State to ensure peaceful, credible, free and fair election. “To ensure adequate security and safety of lives and property before, during and after the elections, the IGP has graciously approved the deployment of 30,000 police personnel to Ekiti State for the election. “The personnel comprises Police Mobile Force (PMF) Units, Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), the Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), Conventional Policemen, the Armament Unit, personnel of FCIID and the Sniffer Dogs section. Four policemen and two others from other security agencies will be on duty at each polling unit throughout the state. The Police Mobile Force (PMF), to be headed by a very senior officer, will provide security at the RAC, Super RAC and collation centres.
“The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations, has been deployed to the state and will be assisted by an Assistant Inspector General of Police, four Commissioners of Police, eight Deputy Commissioners of Police and 18 Assistant Commissioners of Police; each senatorial district will be manned by a Commissioner of Police.
The DIG will implement and coordinate the security operations, and also supervise the deployment of security personnel for the elections throughout the 2,451 polling units/voting points, 177 wards and the 16 local government areas of the state.” On the logistics arrangements, the Force noted: “Two Patrol Surveillance Helicopters, five additional Armoured Personnel Carriers, 10 Armoured Personnel Vehicles and 250 Police patrol vehicles are deployed throughout the state including difficult terrains.
“Other security and safety agencies who are members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the state are also deployed to complement the Nigeria Police Force during the election.” Meanwhile, the police have said it will provide a level-playing ground for all candidates in the contest. Accordingly, it has barred orderlies and other security operatives attached to politicians from accessing voting points with their principals.
This is even as it said special identification tags would be issued to personnel on duty during and after the exercise. Preparatory to the poll, the Force said the IG would meet with stakeholders, including candidates, representatives of their parties, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as well as observers. “Security personnel attached to public office holders and politicians will not be allowed to follow their principals to the polling units or collation centres throughout the election.
Security personnel are hereby warned to desist from escorting their principals and politicians to polling units and collation centres during the election. Any deviant security detail will be apprehended and dealt with accordingly.
“As part of additional measures to guarantee a peaceful and credible election, the IGP will, on July 9, attend a stakeholders’ and peace accord meeting of all the 35 political parties participating in the election and their flag bearers, INEC officials, election observers and other accredited stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. “Furthermore, police officers and personnel of other security and safety agencies deployed for the elections are under strict instructions to be polite and civil, but firm in the discharge of their duties and other responsibilities.
They are to provide adequate security for the electorate, INEC officials, movement of election materials, the accredited election observers and other individuals and bodies that have statutory roles in the conduct of the election, at the polling units, collation centres and INEC offices throughout the period of the election. “Special security identification tags will be worn by all security personnel deployed for the election. No personnel of any security agency will be allowed to move to any other location other than where they were deployed throughout the election period.”
Commissioners of Police and their personnel in states contiguous and close to Ekiti State, such as Ondo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Ogun, Edo and Oyo states have been directed by the IGP to be on Red Alert with their personnel. Also, the affected CPs “are to deploy massively within areas neighbouring to Ekiti State to prevent crimes, hoodlums and miscreants and other unwanted elements or groups from infiltrating from their states to Ekiti State to disrupt the election.”
In the meantime, the Force has emplaced restriction of vehicular movement strategy in the state beginning midnight of Friday till whenever the election was concluded. It, however, said those on essential duties will not be affected by the development. “Restriction of vehicular movement in and out of Ekiti State will commence from midnight of Friday, July 13 till the end of the election. Traveller and other road users are advised to make use of alternative routes. However, those on essential duties on genuine course will be granted passage.
“All the 35 participating political parties and their leaderships and supporters, traditional rulers, community leaders, parents and guardians are advised to warn and prevail on their members, supporters, subjects, children and wards to be law abiding and not allow themselves to be used to cause disturbance of the peace or disruption of the election/electoral process anywhere in the state,” it said.
While assuring that threat assessments had been conducted, with a view to covering the field, the statement vowed that troublemakers would be arrested and brought to deserved justice.
“Threat assessments have been carried out by the Police in Ekiti State and all identified flash points and trouble prone areas have been addressed. “However, the Force will not hesitate to deal decisively in accordance with the electoral act and other enabling laws with any individual(s) or group(s), no matter how highly placed, whose utterances or conduct is contrary to the electoral act or that can incite disturbance of public peace, law and order before, during or after the election.
“The full weight of the law will be applied on any person or group of persons found violating the electoral act or indulging in any criminal conduct capable of causing violence before, during and after the election,” it said. While urging residents to report suspicious persons and activities to security operatives for prompt action, the police chief assured the electorate, the contestants and all law abiding citizens in Ekiti State of adequate security throughout the election.
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