The Nigerian Police Force has unveiled a comprehensive security plan for the impending governorship elections slated for November 11th in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states. These precautionary measures are being implemented against the backdrop of heightened political tensions and a history of electoral disturbances.
In a recent interview with PUNCH, the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, emphasized the police’s unwavering commitment to ensuring a secure and peaceful electoral process. The multifaceted strategy encompasses the deployment of both uniformed and plainclothes personnel, as well as an array of anti-riot equipment, including teargas canisters, water cannons, and Armoured Personnel Carriers. Notably, the inclusion of drones in the security apparatus marks a significant technological advancement aimed at monitoring and safeguarding these crucial elections.
Adejobi highlighted the extensive collaboration between the police force and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). These collaborative efforts, conducted at the committee level, feature co-chairs Inspector-General of Police Kayode Egbetokun and INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu. The goal of these discussions is to coordinate actions that ensure a seamless and violence-free election process.
The decision to incorporate drones into the security measures stems from concerns about political thuggery and violence leading up to the elections. Recent governorship elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa have witnessed unsettling incidents resulting in the loss of lives and property.
In this politically charged atmosphere, both incumbent Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State and Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State are seeking re-election, with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State supporting the All Progressives Congress candidate, Usman Ododo.
Adejobi reiterated the police force’s determination to ensure the success of the elections, stating, “We have meticulously prepared for the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states. Our operational orders for each state are ready, and we are fully prepared for deployment. We have shared our election duty documents, including the Standard Operating Procedures, with our personnel. As it’s an off-season election, we will have a substantial deployment of personnel.”
He further clarified, “The Inspector-General of Police has directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of operations to disseminate the operation order and Standard Operations Procedure, which every deployed officer will be equipped with. We will also deploy our equipment to fortify each of the three states for a free, fair, and credible election. We have an ample supply of equipment, arms and ammunition, teargas canisters, water cannons, armoured personnel carriers, drones, and our plainclothes officers will gather intelligence in the field.”