…okays deployment of 21, 084 policemen, 3 helicopters, gunboats
…..asks Ohaneze Ndigbo to prevail on youths
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, on Tuesday, said he has deployed additional Police Mobile Force Units to South East and South South states ahead of the Anambra State government election billed for November 28.
The IGP who spoke at a dialogue session he had with a coalition of Civil Society Organization, CSOs, under the aegis of Situation Room, said he has put necessary manpower and logistics in place to secure electorates, electoral officials, observers and election materials that will be used for the Anambra poll.
According to him, “No group(s) under any guise will be allowed to disrupt or cause violence before, during and after the election”.
He said that a total number of 21, 084 police will be deployed for the Anambra State election, with 17, 320 of them stationed within the 4,330 polling units in the state.
Whereas 1, 280 of them will be deployed to 320 polling centers, the IGP disclosed that 2,484 policemen will be assigned to patrol 414 major streets in Anambra State throughout the election period.
The IGP said some parts of Anambra State was already marked as “flash/vulnerable points of concerns” that would require “extra security arrangements”.
He listed the areas as Otuocha, Onitsha, Aguleri, Nzam, Anam, Achala, Ihiala, Ozubulu, Umunzi, Ekwulobia and Okpoko.
“The Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Police Command is under very strict instructions to ensure that he carries along the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the deployment and implementation of security arrangements for the successful conduct of the election in the state”, the IGP added.
On threat by the IPOB to disrupt the election, the Police boss said: “More Police personnel are already on ground to prevent any untoward incident.
“The Command has been directed to liaise with the community leaders such as Ohaneze Ndigbo and the President General of the various communites to prevail on their people in Anambra State not to allow their children and wards to be used to cause disruption of the election, disturbance of public peace and law order.
“The Command has been directed to also work with the PCRC, Eminent Persons Forum and the local associations to checkmate the activities of any group inimical to the peace of the land.
“The Command has equally been directed to synergize with other sister security and safety agencies to ensure the smooth conduct of the election.
“Special Police Patrol of the general areas, stop and search, raiding of criminal hideouts and other crime prevention and control strategies are currently ongoing and will continue throughout the election period and beyond”.
The IGP equally highlighted some of the logistics he has put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the election.
He said: “The Command has 80 operational vehicles. The Force Headquarters will provide additional 300 vehicles to the Command for the election.
“The Force Headquarters will provide three Police Helicopters for surveillance and aerial patrol throughout the period of the election.
“Gunboats for the Police Marine to man the waterways at Onitsha, Aguleri and Nzam has been provided.
“Additional Riot equipment will be provided by the Force Headquarters to the Command.
“Furthermore, for the purpose of a successful election, the following additional strategies have been put in place; The riverine areas will be manned by the Marine Police and Nigerian Navy.
“All exit/entry points including boarder areas between Anambra State/Imo, Abia, Enugu and Delta States will be manned by the Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel and Nigeria Army.
“Vehicular movement will be restricted as may be directed by INEC”, the IGP added.
Earlier in his opening remarks, coordinator of the CSOs and Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, said there was need for the Police to give proper orientation to officers deployed on election duties to avoid rights abuses and overzealousness.
While he urged the IPOB to respect right of citizens in Anambra State to exercise their civic responsibility, Nwankwo cautioned that saturating the state with police could intimidate and scare electorates away from the poll.
“It is important that Anambra election is conducted in a free, secured and conducive environment. However, Police should also be conscious of its deployment strategies so as to ensure that it does not flood the streets with policemen and thereby intimidate electorates. There should be a balance”, Nwankwo added.