Anambra Election: Police Deploy 26,000 Officers, 15 Gunboats
The Nigeria Police Force has deployed 26,000, 15 gunboats and 303 patrol vehicles for the Anambra State gubernatorial election scheduled for 18 November. This was disclosed in a statement by Mr. Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer.
According to the statement, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Department of Operations of the Force has been deployed to the state and will be assisted by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police and three Commissioners of Police to be in charge of each Senatorial District.
“In order to ensure adequate security and safety of lives and properties before, during and after the elections, the Inspector General of Police has graciously approved deployment of additional 26,000 Police personnel, comprising the Police Special Forces, Police Mobile Force, the Counter- Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), the Force Marine Police, Conventional Policemen, the Force Armament Unit, personnel from Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), Mounted Troops, the attack and Sniffer Dogs Section, Police Gun Boats, Police Helicopters and Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) to Anambra State and most of these personnel are already on the ground,” the statement said.
It added that the deployed equipment will be deployed to cover entire state, including riverine areas and difficult terrains. In addition, other security and safety agencies, which are members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the state are also deployed to complement the Police.
“Four policemen are deployed to each polling unit along with personnel of other security and safety agencies. No armed security personnel will be allowed within the polling units. Armed Police detachments on patrol vehicles are going to patrol the streets and other locations throughout the state to prevent crime and intervene to quell any violence that may occur during the election,” the statement further said.
To further ensure peaceful conduct of the election, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim K. Idris, and Chairman, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) will meet stakeholders and political parties, their flag bearers before the date of the election.
The statement warned that Police personnel deployed for the election must be polite and civil, but firm.
“They are to provide adequate security for the electorate, INEC officials, election materials, election observers and other individuals and bodies that have statutory roles in the conduct of the election, at the polling booths, collation centers, and INEC offices in Anambra State throughout the period of the election,” stated the Police.
The Police also announced that vehicular movement in the state between 12 midnight on 17 November till after the voting period on the day of the election. Government agencies and personnel on essential duties and services, however, will be allowed passage within the period.
“Security identification tag will be provided for all the security and safety agencies, INEC officials, election observers/monitors and others that have statutory duties to carry out in the election. The security personnel deployed will only operate within the area they are posted for the election,” the Police said.
The statement also declared that Commissioners of Police and personnel in the states contiguous to Anambra State have been put on red-alert not to allow an influx of miscreants and thugs into Anambra State. Also, a broad-spectrum security threats assessment is in progress.
“All the identified flashpoints, trouble spots and other perceived violence/vulnerable areas in the state have been profiled and appropriate pragmatic strategies and tactics have been implemented to checkmate and tackle them ahead of the election.Consequent on the renewed threat by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other affiliate groups to disrupt the election, the Force has deployed Special Police Forces, Police Mobile Force, Specially Trained Counter-Terrorism Unit and other intelligence and tactical Squads to deal decisively with IPOB,” the statement added.
The Police assured voters of adequate security, warning IPOB to stay off polling units. The Force also warned political parties, traditional rulers, community leaders, parents and guardians to advise their followers and wards to be law-abiding or face the full weight of the law.