Friday, November 17, 2017 9:51 pm
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of operations, Mr. Joshak Habila, has warned that security personnel would not be allowed to accompany very important personalities (VIPs) at polling units during the conduct of the Anambra state governorship election on Saturday.
Mr. Habila handed down the warning Friday, while speaking with journalists at the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Awka.
This is even as he emphasised that no government officials or any individual, no matter how important he may be, would be allowed to monitor the election, except the press and accredited observers, adding that the restriction of movement would be binding on all persons, except groups and individuals accredited to monitor voting.
“Tell all VIPs that they cannot be accompanied by uniform personnel because that also will intimidate others. People are expected to walk a shot distance and cast their vote and go back home.
“No VIP, no government official, no individual should put onto themselves the responsibility of monitoring, except the press and accredited observers. International and national observers will be given an opportunity,” he said.
Speaking on the security arrangement for the exercise, the DIG noted that the redeployment of senior police officers from the state was done to ensure transparency.
He explained that with the massive deployment of additional 21,000 police personnel to join the existing 6,000 operatives in the state, five policemen were expected to man each polling unit.
He further disclosed that 300 hilux vehicles have been stations around areas prone to violence and 15 gunboats to the riverine areas, while three helicopters would hover above the three senatorial districts of the state to provide aerial view during the election.
“There is no cause to fear. Virtually everywhere, you will have police officers and other security agencies prepared. I want to assure those who are getting afraid (that) do not believe that something is pursuing you when nothing is pursuing you.
“We guarantee you your safety and ask that you should come our tomorrow and vote so that you can choose the man you want to be at the helm of affairs. There is no cause to fear,” he emphasised.
Habila who described the threat by the secession agitators, IPOB, as a failed move, said: “I am of the opinion that the threat they put through was just a dummy, it was just a script written and rehearsed. But I think that it has failed because it has not been played.
“It was never played during the electioneering campaign. I do not think that anybody will go and dust those things and play them anymore. If there is any one, then it is unfortunate.
“But I want to assure you that they were just antics. And that is why I say, vote and leave but not vote and die.”