The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered Commissioners of Police in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory to protect the electorate, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and electoral materials in Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections.

But the Department of State Security (DSS) raised the alarm over plans by some groups to unleash violence after the March 11 gubernatorial and state assembly elections.

The agency vowed decisive action against such groups.

At a meeting in Abuja, the IG directed all Commissioners of Police and strategic commanders posted for the gubernatorial and state assembly election duties to mobilise all resources at their disposal to defend the electorate, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and sensitive materials as well as the electoral process during the conduct of elections.

A statement issued by the Spokesman of the Nigeria Police and Chief Supretendent of Police (CSP), Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the IG also “ordered strategic deployments in accordance with the developed standard operating procedure for polling units to ensure maximum protection against intimidation, harassment, and assault on law-abiding citizens during the electoral process”.

The IG charged all commanders in various states to take up complaints of intimidation, harassment and assault reported by individuals and groups for proper investigation.

The IG assured all Nigerians, particularly the electorate and INEC officials that the Nigeria Police was working in synergy with other security agencies to ensure adequate security and protection of fundamental rights nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Department of State Security (DSS) raised the alarm over plans by some groups to unleash violence after the March 11 gubernatorial and state assembly elections.

The agency vowed decisive action against such groups.

“The Department of State Services (DSS) alerts the public of orchestrated plans by some persons to cause a total breakdown of law and order in the country shortly after the March 11, 2023 Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections. It also wishes to draw attention to the unnecessary palpable political tension in parts of the country prior to the elections under reference. It is observed that some of the players are at daggers drawn with one another. The development holds dire consequences for national peace and stability”, it said.

A statement issued by the Spokesman of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, warned politicians and their supporters to engage constructively.

“It is in view of these that the service warns politicians and their supporters to engage constructively. Everyone is advised to shun fake news, hate speech and such other utterances that may be inimical to peaceful co-existence. Election should not be seen as a do or die affair.

“There is no basis for anyone to take laws into their hands. This is even more so that aggrieved persons can take advantage of our courts and seek redress. We should have faith in our institutions”, it said.

The statement further noted that “over this election period, the service has remained committed to providing conducive environment for a peaceful exercise. In this regard, it separately and in collaboration with sister agencies, carried out mop up operations to thwart nefarious plans and activities of undesirable elements to outrightly undermine the electoral processes.

“For hitch-free gubernatorial and state assembly elections, the service has partnered with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the required peace is maintained before, during and after the exercises”.

The agency vowed decisive action against individuals and groups plotting to unleash violence after the election.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the service will work to make sure that no person or group, no matter how highly placed, disrupts the scheduled elections in any part of the Federation.

“It is committed to the safety and security of citizens who may wish to go out to exercise their civic responsibility. All and sundry are, therefore, enjoined to abide by the rules of engagement particularly the Electoral Act and extant guidelines”, it said.

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