By Nwangwu Uba
Ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections next Saturday, Muhammed Abubakar Adamu, acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, has ordered a watertight security around the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, facilities nation-wide to forestall the activities of party thugs who might want to hijack ballot boxes.
The intensified security measure around the Commission offices and facilities may have become necessary following the recent fire incident that gutted the office of the Commission at Qua’anpan Local government area of Plateau state. The fire outbreak was said to have destroyed ballot boxes, generators filled with fuel, newly printed electronic and manual voters register, unclaimed Permanent Voter Cards, materials for the preparations of RAC and other valuable materials. The destruction of the election materials may have drawn the hand of the clock back for the electoral umpire in the state which the police may not want to repeat agains.
Given the importance attached to the election , the acting IGP , was said to have ordered the Commissioners of Police in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to put in place ”adequate , functional and purposeful security arrangements aimed at protecting the INEC offices and materials from all forms of crimes, mischief-during and after the elections”.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, in the Zones, according to Frank Mbah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Force , Spokes person , were said to have also been mandated to monitor the level of compliance of the Commands under their jurisdiction with the directive and ensure that there is no breach of security of any kind occurs within or around the Commission facilities under their close watch.
The Nassarawa state born IGP, was said to have assured Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman of the Commission and Nigerians in general, that there was no cause to worry about the election,maintaining that the Force have made adequate preparation to deliver on its mandate of providing an enabling environment for the election.
Recall that Adamu, the acting IGP, has made it clear at different meetings with stakeholders that the Force would provide a level playing field for the political actors in the conduct of the election, insisting that” they would be apolitical in the discharge of their responsibilities”. This should gladden the heart of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and other Presidential Candidates who fear that the Police and other security agencies personnel are going to work for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election on the ticket of the All Progressive Congress, APC, described by Lai Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture as a defeatist approach to the election.
As a prelude to ensuring total security throughout the country through the election period the police Corp ,revealed that 24,000 Mobile Policemen, 400 Counter terrorism operatives and 800 personnel from the Special Protection Unit, SPU, of the Force , have been across the country for the general elections.
Appealing to the Political party Candidates to ”avoid the politics of do or die affair’, in an election, Adamu pleaded with them to know that ”all the Candidates of the different political parties cannot be declared winner for a single electoral position” He noted that the earlier the ”politicians realise this, the better for the nation’s polity”.
While the Force have intensified their security measure throughout the country, Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, have also mobilised his men to put a close tab on the nation’s border Communities and the Highways to avoid smuggling of election materials or fake police camouflage uniforms and other items into the country.
Only recently, the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, intercepted a vehicle loaded with bales of fake police camouflage clothing, teargas, and fake police items including complimentary cards of Police Sergeants and Inspectors. This is in addition to Police Sergeant rank and short
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