© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
police drafts 360,000 personnel to polling units nationwide – IGP
Says Police will not be armed on Election Day
AT least three police officers each would be drafted to the 119, 973 polling units across the country for the general elections, Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, said on Friday.
This has put the number of deployed policemen and women at nearly 360, 000 all over the 36 states including the federal capital territory Abuja.
The officers would be responsible for the protection of the electorate, staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as election materials also in tomorrow’s presidential election.
Adamu disclosed this at the media briefing organised by INEC, in Abuja, adding that additional officers on patrol would eventually join the existing personnel to ensure protection of votes at the wards and collation centres.
INEC had earlier rescheduled the presidential election slated for 16 February, 2019 to 23rd February due to logistic problems.
However, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Commission, assured that tomorrow’s election remains sacrosanct.
Based on statistical figures from INEC, there are 119, 973 total number of polling units in the country for 84, 004, 084 overall registered voters but accessible to only 72,775, 502 accredited voters with the Permanent Voters Card (PVC).
“Maximum security is provided before the election, during and after the election. There will be at least 3 security personnel to protect the electorates, INEC officials and electoral materials,” said Adamu.
“The personnel that will be there will not be armed so there is no need for apprehension. While the election is on going, we may have some group of people that may want to disrupt the process. We have put in place a strategy to stop that. We have tactical unit of our personnel and other security services that will be patrolling everywhere to ensure the process is not disrupted,” He added.
But, the IGP said the security personnel would not be armed, except for those assigned on patrol, stressing that the Police would “deal with anybody that will want to disrupt the process.”
Adamu emphasised that the security operatives would work with the electoral officials at the different polling units to arrest offenders, who have committed electoral crime during the voting process. The Police, he noted, would setup an investigative team, led by the Commissioner of Police (legal), to investigate such cases and prosecute the offenders.
The IGP listed some of the electoral offences to include; vote buying, ballot box snatching, thugery among others.
“After the voting, movement of election of materials will be protected, we will put additional security personnel who are out to protect the results at the at the collation centre at the ward.
“Even when the election is announced, those who are planning to disrupt or react, we have put strategies in place to prevent that.”
He advised the public to peacefully move out, cast their votes and wait for the announcement of results, stressing need to adhere to the relevant laws and order.
He also assured all accredited observers of protection.