Ahead of Saturday’s offseason governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has assured the electorates in both states, Nigerians at large and members of the international community of the commitment of the Nigeria Police to the conduct of successful elections.

Addressing the media Thursday at the Kogi State Police Command headquarters in Lokoja, the IGP who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations, Abdulmalik Ali, assured of unwavering commitment to engaging international best practices in the discharge of its election security mandate.

He warned that in securing law-abiding citizens during elections, the police will not hesitate to deploy its might to deal firmly and decisively with “electoral deviants.”

Calling on the political actors and Nigerian in general to lend support to the police and other law enforcement agencies in sustaining the gains recorded in the nation’s democratic march, he warned that the police cannot be held to ransom by those bent on disrupting the process, in the discharge of its mandate during the exercise.

“We must sound a note of that as a nation, we have had enough of electoral violence. Hence, while the Nigeria Police shall strive to guarantee a peaceful and secure space for all political parties and the citizens to freely exercise their electoral rights, we shall not hesitate to identify, isolate and bring to deserved justice to any person or group of persons that attempt to threaten the democratic process,” he warned.

He explained that the press conference was being addressed as part of initiatives of the Nigeria Police to brief members of the public on plans that have been put in place to ensure a peaceful electoral process and a credible outcome of the elections and to interface with the press, towards feeling the pulse of the citizens, addressing their concerns and drawing on inputs in the attainment of our election security mandate.”

He read: “By virtue of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Police is the lead agency in the electioneering process. This mandate is, however, being exercised in close conjunction with INEC leadership and other sister security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

“Towards this end, we have undertaken a security threat assessment in both Kogi and Bayelsa States and have identified possible risks, geolocated trouble spots, and classified individuals and groups that could constitute security challenges to the process.

“The outcome of this intelligence-driven initiative guided our election deployment plans and informed our post-election security projections.

“Let me emphasize that our strategic plans are guided by our invaluable experiences in previous engagements and are designed to achieve four key objectives. First, is to create an environment that is secured and peaceful enough to give confidence to the political actors to undertake their campaigns and other political activities and for the citizens to freely exercise their electoral franchise.

“Second, is to emplace adequate security for all INEC personnel, ad-hoc staff, that is, NYSC, (political party) agents, domestic and international observers during the entire process.

“Third, is to emplace adequate security for both sensitive and non-sensitive election materials, both at the voting centres, while on transit and at the various collation points. Fourth, is to ensure adequate security for all INEC facilities in the two States. The essence of all these, is to ensure that the elections are peaceful, secured and credible.

“In furtherance to these, we shall be deploying a total of 66,241 personnel on the election security operations in both Kogi and Bayelsa States. The breakdown shows that a total of 35,200 personnel will be deployed to Kogi State while a total of 31,041 will be deployed to Bayelsa State.

“The police deployment shall involve the conventional police personnel who will be complemented by the special units including the Police Mobile Force, Special Protection Unit, Counterterrorism Unit, Special Forces, Intelligence Response Unit, Special tactical Squad, Mounted Troops and K9 Section, Airwing and the Marine detachment. There shall also be massive logistics mobilization to support the operations while complementary forces shall be pooled from sister security agencies.

“It must be emphasized that the heavy deployment of all these security operatives is to make the elections a success in the two states, and not to intimidate the electorates and the general public.

“It is noteworthy to also state in order to ensure an effective command and control framework, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has ordered the posting of very senior police officers including Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, AIGs, CPs, DCPs and ACPs to all senatorial districts and local government areas, within the two states, to monitor security arrangements during the elections; and their telephone numbers have been made public to enable the citizens contact them if the needs arise.

“In addition, as part of actions directed at policing the entry and exit points into Kogi and Bayelsa states from contiguous states shall be closed as from 12am (midnight) of 16th November to 4pm of 16th November, 2019.

“There shall also be restriction of movements within the two states as from 6am to 4pm of 16th November, 2019, with the exemption of those on election duties and essential services.

“Furthermore, the Inspector-General of Police has directed that with effect from Friday 15th November, 2019, all security aides attached to the governors, their deputies and all other public office holders, politicians and any other personality involved in the elections in the two states be withdrawn until the conclusion of the elections.

“The Nigeria Police and other security agencies are fully ready to support INEC in delivering successful elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. While with your support and that of the citizens, we are confident that we have the operational capacity to ensure the success of the exercise in both states.

“We are not unaware of the possible security threats that some misguided political actors and their followers may attempt to pose during the elections in both states.

“Our message is being relayed here loud and clear that in securing the law-abiding citizens during the elections, we shall not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with electoral deviants.

“Consequently, we call on political actors and indeed all citizens to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies in sustaining the gains we have recorded as a nation in our democratic journey.

“It should always be remembered that politics is a game guided by rules and it behoves political actors and their supporters to play the game within the dictates of such rules.

“Consequently, personnel deployed on the election security operations have been charged to be civil, fair, and professional and rule of law-guided in the discharge of their duties.

“In so doing, however, they have been additionally instructed to be firm and decisive. On our part, therefore, we assure the electorates in Kogi and Bayelsa states and indeed, the nation and the international community of our firm commitment to a successful electoral exercise and our unwavering commitment to engaging international best practices in the discharge of our election security mandate.”

The IGP listed the direct mobile telephone numbers the public should call if need arises.

They are: State’s Joint Operation Room 08066002020, 08065948693 and 08151532944 (for Kogi State).

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