Determined to provide water-tight security in the 2,627 polling booths across Edo State during Saturday’s governorship election, no fewer than three policemen, supported by officials of other security agencies, would man each polling unit. This was disclosed on Wednesday in Benin by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in charge of Research and Planning, Adeleye Oyebade at a press conference where he announced the setting up of an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to provide an enabling environment for a free and fair election that would remain a reference point in election security.
Oyebade also issued a stern warning to merchants of violence who may want to compromise the integrity of the election. He said the police officers to be deployed to the polling units had been well cautioned to be apolitical, neutral, and professional in the conduct of their duties.
“The police officers have been properly briefed on their expected roles and conduct during the election, bearing in mind strict adherence to the principles and rules of the Code of Conduct for Officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force. All other security personnel deployed for the election must also adhere to the code of conduct and rules of engagement on election duty. For effective manning of the polling booths, no fewer than three police officers and personnel of other security agencies will be deployed in each of the 2,627 polling booths”.
Assuring the people of Edo State that “the officers deployed for this special assignment will be apolitical, neutral, and professional in their constitutional responsibilities,” Oyebade said “The police officers and other counterparts from sister agencies who are involved in this election will be posted to the polling booths by name, and would wear identifiable tags for easy identification”.
He said as a prelude to the election, the Police recently mopped up arms to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms. Oyebade, therefore, warned that no person or group of persons by whatever name would be allowed to carry arms. “We want to sound a note of warning to would-be miscreants and other political thugs who might be holding clandestine, diurnal or nocturnal meetings to foment trouble with the motive to disrupt the election and scuttle the democratic process to desist from such act as the arm of the law will certainly catch up with them,” Oyebade stated.
He announced a restriction on movement from midnight on Friday, to the same time on Saturday and warned that no one is allowed to wear any cloth, emblem, or colour signifying any political party to the polling units on Saturday.
The DIG also said no person would be allowed to move around with security personnel around polling units, while everyone was enjoined to vote and return to their respective houses “or remain peacefully within the approved parameters of the polling centres”.
The ICCES, which is replicated at state and local government levels, comprises personnel of the Nigeria Police, Armed Forces, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Correctional Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.