The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has explained that the heavy deployment of security to Anambra for Saturday’s election is not meant to intimidate voters, but to reassure them.
Baba, said this when spoke to stakeholders in the state on Wednesday.
According to the police boss, the security is designed to cover the three senatorial districts, 21 local government areas, 326 wards and 5,720 polling units across the state.
Baba said, “This massive deployment is not designed to intimidate the law-abiding as being insinuated in some quarters. On the contrary, it is to re-assure them of adequate protection by deterring misguided political elements, as well as non-state actors that might be bent on threatening the elections through acts of armed violence or other conducts that violate the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“It is to also serve as a strong warning that the government is determined to bring such subversive characters to justice should they advance their ignoble, undemocratic and unpatriotic intents.
“The overriding objective of our operational action plan is to ensure an environment that is peaceful enough to encourage the law-abiding people of Anambra State to exercise their electoral franchise.
“The message here is clear. For the political actors and electorate that are law-abiding, they are fully assured of optimal security.
“However, for the destabilising elements and other deviants who despite all-wise counsel are determined to deploy violence and other illegal means to advance their political interests or constitute a clog in the wheel of peaceful atmosphere for the election, they should be prepared for the consequences of their actions as they will be identified, isolated and decisively dealt with irrespective of their status, ideological inclinations or political affiliation.”
He assured all the people of Anambra State and the international community of their firm commitment to support the Independent National Electoral Commission in delivering a free, fair, credible and successful election in the state.
The IG also assured the people that the personnel of the Nigeria Police shall remain impartial, firm, accountable and professional in the exercise of their statutory duties as provided for in the Electoral Act and other enabling laws.
According to him, “All the security personnel to be deployed are under instructions to be guided by the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty as developed jointly by INEC and security agencies.
“The document clearly highlights the roles, ethics and standard of operations of all security agents to be deployed on election security duties.
“Accordingly, all security agents are fully conscious of the fact that they are under an obligation to perform their functions within the rule of law and civil dictates and that they could be held accountable for any professional conduct that negates the dictates of the code of conduct.
“In spite of all these safeguards, it must be emphasised that the success of the electoral process is fundamentally dependent on the extent of national passion and responsibility that all the strategic political actors seated here today can exhibit.
“It is also dependent on their commitment to cooperating and supporting INEC and the security agencies towards advancing our democratic values.”
Reeling out the guidelines for the election, Baba said, “No one is allowed to wear any cloth, emblem or colour signifying any political party to the polling units. No person is allowed to move around with security details around the polling units.
“Everyone is enjoined to vote and return to their respective houses or remain peacefully within approved perimeters of the polling centres. No one is allowed to move about from one polling unit to another, only INEC accredited election monitors/observers are allowed to move around, only accredited journalists are allowed to cover the election.”
He also said, Praise singing, drumming and dancing around the vicinity of polling unit are not allowed, vehicles branded in any political party colour or emblems are not allowed to be deployed on any election assignment, selling of alcohol beverages around the polling booth and collation centres is totally banned.”