Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, on Thursday, ordered the mobilisation and deployment of a total 34,587 police personnel and three police helicopters to Anambra State ahead of the November 6 governorship election.
The IG said the 34,587 personnel included conventional police officers, Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), special forces personnel, Explosives Ordinance Unit (EOD), Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB), Interpol, Special Protection Unit (SPU) as well as police medical teams expected to be on ground to guarantee a hitch-free election.
He said the three police helicopters would be deployed for aerial surveillance amongst other operational capabilities.
In addition, the police high command also deployed the force marine and the force animal branch and other operational assets for the Anambra State gubernatorial election.
Speaking at 2nd Strategic Police Managers Conference for Senior Police Officers from the rank of Commissioner of Police and above in Abuja, the IG stated that force headquarters conducted an election security threat analysis as part of preparations for the elections and also developed a strategic election security operational plan to stabilise the prevailing security situation in the state.
“These actions are aimed at creating a conducive and enabling environment that will guarantee the peaceful conduct of the election. In assuring law abiding citizens and stakeholders of their safety during the election, let me warn subversive elements, who are bent on employing violence to attempt to threaten our democratic values, as well as any political actors, who may want to adopt undemocratic and illegal means to achieve their aspirations to bury such thoughts now or be prepared to face the consequences, as they will be identified, isolated and made to face the wrath of the law no matter how highly or lowly placed they may be,” he said.
The IGP also charged Commissioners of Police in the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT as well as their supervisory Assistant-Inspectors General of Police to return to their commands and strengthen the security architecture as the year gradually winds down and the Yuletide season draws closer.
He directed the strategic commanders to evolve proactive anti-crime approaches to enable the force stay ahead against any anticipated security threats to the lives and property of the citizenry.
Baba called on citizens to continue to support the police in their various localities while noting that a robust police operational asset would be delivered soon, which would re-energise policing operations towards improving public safety and security in the country.
He assured the nation that the various policing reforms being vigorously pursued by the force leadership would avail citizens with a more professional, effective, proactive and accountable police force.
The IG had, Wednesday, ordered police mobile force commanders to deal ruthlessly with violent elements and political thugs, who might work against a transparent and credible outcome of the Anambra election.
The police chief also read riot act to the squadron commanders, vowing to deal decisively with any commander that lacked capacity and unwilling to key into the police reform agenda.
“Most of your operatives will be deployed to deter subversive elements that are planning to threaten the process, while others will be deployed to secure personnel and materials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as other critical national infrastructure”, he said.
“You must remain apolitical while being ruthless with violent elements and ill-guided political thugs that may wish to test our common will to deliver a transparent and credible electoral outcome,” he stated.
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja