Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has assured foreign observers of adequate protection before, during and after the general elections, contrary to the “body bag” threat issued by the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai.
Speaking at the national briefing of accredited observer (foreign and domestic) for the 2019 general election, the police boss ordered the immediate arrest of any policeman on election duty without identification tag, just as he urged the observers to properly wear identification tags.
Ordering his men to arrest vote-buyers and sellers, he equally directed them to ensure strict compliance with the restriction of the human and vehicular movements on Election Day, just as he warned the observers to refrain from interviewing security agents.
“The security agents should look out for vote-buyers and sellers. We are certainly going to make arrests. They must ensure adequate protection of electoral materials, main and ad hoc staff and the observers. Let me assure the observers, both foreign and domestic, that they will be adequately protected before, during and after the general election. The observers must wear identification tags throughout the process for easy identification.
“Anybody shouting party slogan, wearing branded party dresses or campaigning at the polling stations shall be arrested. Any security agent at the polling station without identification tag shall be arrested. The security agents must ensure strict compliance with the restrictions on human and vehicular movement,” he warned.
The IGP said that the six Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs) would be deployed to the six geopolitical zones, 24 Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) would be deployed across the zones, while 36,000 tactical personnel would also be deployed, in addition to regular police, to beef up security on the voting day.
His words: “In the tactical unit, over 24,000 mobile police personnel will be deployed, 4,000 counter-terrorism personnel will be deployed and about 8,000 special protection personnel will be deployed.
“I work tirelessly with the INEC, with the office of the National Security Adviser and other security agencies to make sure that 2019 election is done in a secured manner, in a professional manner, in a way that a level playing field is provided for every political party and this indicates that all the security agencies will be impartial in the conduct of the 2019 general election.
“All the Commissioners of Police in the states were made to identify the flashpoints within their states and to identify those that will cause what will lead to the disruption of elections and make sure that we bring them to order before the elections. That has been done.
“We have done the threat analysis in all the state commands. The state Commissioners of Police are also going to identify all the polling units and voting points within the commands in cooperation with the RECs to make sure that all the polling units are known before the day of the election.
“Apart from the regular police officers and other security agencies posted, we have our tactical units like the mobile police force, and the counter-terrorism unit. Our special protection units are all deployed to give additional security,” he said.
Adamu further noted that all the squadron commanders of the Police Mobile Force, special protection and anti-terrorism units would escort sensitive election materials to the state branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria, registration areas and accompany INEC staff and polling officials, especially the National Youth Service Corps, members to their duty posts.
He added that there would be no police escort for VIPs to pulling units, but INEC, state and local government offices, collation centres, NYSC members’ lodges and public utilities would be protected by armed police personnel, while three unarmed security personnel would man each polling unit on the day of election.
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