The Nigeria Police Force, yesterday, disclosed that no fewer than three policemen and security personnel deployed by other security agencies will man each of the 2,627 polling booths in Edo State during next Saturday’s governorship election.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in charge of Research and Planning, Adeleye Oyebade, announced this at a press conference in Benin.Besides, he announced the setting up of Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election (ICCES), which he said is replicated at the State and Local Government levels, adding that it is to provide an enabling environment for a free and fair election that will remain a reference point in election security.
“The committee comprises the Nigeria Police, Armed Forces, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Correctional Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Representatives of all the ICCES members were present at the briefing.
“The police officers have been properly briefed on their expected roles and conduct during the election, bearing in mind strict adherence to the principles and rules of the Code of Conduct for Officers and Men of the Nigeria Police Force.
“All other security personnel deployed for the election must also adhere to the code of conduct and rules of engagement on election duty.
“For effective manning of the polling booths, no fewer than three police officers and personnel of other security agencies will be deployed in each of the 2,627 polling booths.
“Let me at this juncture assure the good people of Edo State that the officers deployed for this special assignment will be apolitical, neutral, and professional in their constitutional responsibilities. The police officers and other counterparts from sister agencies who are involved in this election will be posted to the polling booths by name, and would wear identifiable tags for easy identification”, the DIG said.
He disclosed that as prelude to the election, the Police recently mopped up arms to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms, warning that no carrying of arms by persons, groups, or outfits by whatever name would be allowed.
“We want to sound a note of warning to would-be miscreants and other political thugs who might be holding clandestine, diurnal or nocturnal meetings to foment trouble with the motive to disrupt the election and scuttle the democratic process to desist from such act as the arm of the law will certainly catch up with them”.
Oyebade announced that as from midnight on Friday, the restriction of movement would commence till the same time on Saturday, warning that no one is allowed to wear any cloth, emblem, or colour signifying any political party to the polling units on Saturday.
Besides, he said “No person is allowed to move around with security personnel around polling units. Everyone is enjoined to vote and return to their respective houses or remain peacefully within the approved parameters of the polling centres”.
According to the DIG, the Edo gubernatorial election will serve as another litmus test of determining the strength or otherwise of our democratic process.
“Elections in Nigeria have often been marred by plethora of election malpractices and violence. Violence during elections can exceedingly debase the very essence and foundation of our jealously guarded nascent democracy.
“Elections marred by violence, and other forms of malpractices cannot be said to be free, fair and credible”, he said.