Anambra election: IGP says massive security presence should not intimidate citizens

The IGP spoke on Wednesday at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stakeholder meeting on the election of the governor of Anambra state in Awka.

He said the aim was to reassure the population of adequate protection by deterring ill-advised political elements as well as non-state actors determined to threaten the elections with acts of armed violence or other behavior that violates the provisions. of the electoral law.

Baba assured everyone “ndi AnambraThat the security agencies were fully aware of the threat of elements threatening to disrupt the electoral process.

The IGP explained that an election security management action plan that would result in effective coordination between INEC, Nigerian police, military and personnel from other security agencies for the holding peaceful and credible elections were in place.

“In addition to optimally deploying our intelligence assets to proactively counter any threat to the elections, we have also deployed a total of 34,587 police officers with the aim of protecting INEC personnel and assets, voters and officials. residents of Anambra State during the exercise. .

“This figure will be supplemented by the military and other security and intelligence agencies.

“Our electoral security is designed so that the three senatorial districts, 21 local government areas, 326 wards and 5,720 polling stations across the state have adequate security coverage,“said Baba.

He added that the massive deployment should also serve as a strong warning that the government is determined to bring these subversive figures to justice if they put forward their vile, undemocratic and unpatriotic intentions.

“The overarching goal of our Operational Action Plan is to ensure an environment peaceful enough to encourage the law-abiding citizens of Anambra State to exercise their right to vote.

“The message here is clear. For political actors and law-abiding electorates, they are fully assured of optimal security.

“However, for the destabilizing elements and other deviants who, despite all wise advice, are determined to deploy violence and other illegal means to advance their political interests or to constitute an obstacle in the wheel of the peaceful atmosphere for the ‘election.

“They must be prepared for the consequences of their actions because they will be identified, isolated and dealt with decisively, regardless of their status, ideological inclinations or political affiliation.”

Baba assured all residents of Anambra State, Nigerians and the international community of the firm commitment of the security agencies to support INEC in the holding of free, fair, credible and successful elections in the state.

“I also wish to assure that the Nigerian Police personnel, as the primary agency in the management of electoral security, will remain impartial, firm, accountable and professional in the exercise of their statutory functions in accordance with the electoral law and other enabling legislation. . “

Baba added that all security personnel who were to be deployed for the election had been instructed to be guided by the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel in Election Service, jointly developed by INEC and security agencies.

He added that all security officers were fully aware of the fact that they were required to perform their duties in accordance with the rule of law and civil regulations.

The IGP warned that they could be held responsible for any behavior contrary to the precepts of the code of conduct.

He said, however, that the success of the electoral process fundamentally hinged on the extent of national passion and responsibility that all strategic political actors sitting here today can demonstrate.

“It also depends on their commitment to cooperate and support INEC and security agencies to advance our democratic values.

“National security interests trump personal or group considerations.

“Accordingly, while asking for your support, we must draw your attention to President Muhammadu Buhari’s accusation that no one or group of people should be allowed to use Anambra State as a preparation ground to do so. derail our democracy. “

The IGP said that as long as the security agencies were professional, they would leave no doubt in their determination to give maximum effect to the President’s office.

He called on all political parties to embrace the virtues of democracy by viewing elections as a call to serve the people and not as a “do or die” affair.

He urged parents and guardians to counsel their children and wards to resist the unnecessary urge to be recruited, brainwashed and deployed to disrupt the electoral process.

He said the Nigerian police, military and other security agencies would strongly oppose such resistance.

He warned that no one was allowed to wear any clothing, emblem or color representing a political party in polling stations on polling day.

“No one is allowed to move around with security information in the polling stations.

“Indeed, proper guidelines were given for the removal or reduction of these security details around politically exposed persons and other state figures until after the elections.

“Everyone is enjoined to vote and return to their respective homes or to remain peacefully within the approved perimeters of the polling centers.

“No one is allowed to move from one polling station to another because there will be movement restrictions on polling day.

“Only INEC-accredited election monitors / observers are allowed to travel for election observation purposes and they must all wear their INEC accreditation badge.

“Only accredited journalists are allowed to cover the election. These journalists must wear their accreditation badge.

“Praise songs, drums and dances near polling stations are not allowed.

“Vehicles bearing the mark of any color or emblem of a political party are not allowed to be deployed during an election mission.

“The sale of alcoholic drinks around voting booths and collection centers is totally prohibited”, he warned.

Baba further warned that anyone who violates any element of the criminal laws, before, during and after the elections, will be apprehended and treated in accordance with the required criminal law.

This includes, according to him, being in possession of weapons of violence of any kind in the streets or around polling stations, engaging in any act of violence, attacking national property. essential, to engage in the corruption of voters or to threaten the public peace in any way.

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