Ahead of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, yesterday authorised the deployment of 33, 783 personnel for the purposes of election security.
Adamu has also reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force especially as it concerns the activities of the Federal Anti-robbery Squad (FSARS) and other special tactical units of the force.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure ahead of the election, Adamu, said the deployment would comprise 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 special police units.
He said the police deployment would be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other security agencies.
The IG said the personnel would be deployed to secure the 3,009 polling units in 203 Wards spread over the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
He said the security agents would provide protection for the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electorate, and the residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections.
“In order to mitigate the identified threats, we shall be deploying, aside from our intelligence assets, a total of 33,783 police personnel on election security duty in Ondo State.
“This will comprise of 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 special police units. The Police deployment will be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other security agencies”, he said.
Adamu said the military would be engaged for the purpose of securing the inter-state borders while the Nigeria Police Air Wing would provide air surveillance.
“These personnel shall be deployed to adequately secure the 3,009 Polling Units (PUs) in 203 Wards spread over the 18 local government areas of the state.
“They are to protect the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the electorates, and residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections”, he said.
The police boss said the measures were undertaken after security threat assessment and all the flashpoints and actors engaged in or planning to threaten the electoral process in Ondo State whom he said were identified and strategies emplaced to frustrate their criminal, unpatriotic and undemocratic intentions.
“As we are all aware, there have been pockets of violent attacks by political opponents against each other in some areas in the state particularly in Akoko and Ipele axis.
“As condemnable as these incidents are, because electioneering campaigns are avenues for the candidates to market their manifestos to the electorates and not arenas of conflicts”, he said, warning that “it would appear that those bent on causing political crises in the State are clearly testing our collective will to decisively deal with such threats.
“It is on that note that I hereby warn violence mongers to immediately desist from their uncharitable deviant activities” or be prepared to face the consequences.
He maintained that “political actors and law-abiding electorate that are desirous of a peaceful election in Ondo State can rest assured of optimal security as they exercise their electoral rights”.
The IG said the deployment was aimed at denying misguided political actors that might be bent on threatening the elections through acts that are inimical to the dictates of the Electoral Act, the pleasure of manifesting their ignoble traits.
“We are, by the deployment, sending a strong warning that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies are resolute to bring recalcitrant characters threatening the process to justice no matter their status in the society or political affiliation”, he said.
Meanwhile, Adamu, yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force especially as it concerns the activities of the FSARS and other special tactical units of the force.
The IG spoke during a courtesy call on him by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
A police statement said the IG called on the citizens to exercise patience as the reforms in FSARS and others were in progress, noting that all the already announced measures aimed at checkmating a future occurrence of extra-judicial activities by some personnel of FSARS and other tactical units of the force would be followed to the letter.
He said some of the officers found to be unruly and unprofessional in their dealings with the citizens, particularly the youth were arrested and facing disciplinary action.
In his remarks, the minister commended the IG for his prompt response in tackling the issues and called for stronger collaboration and mutual understanding between the police and the youth.