Off-season gov polls: 220 police patrol vehicles deployed in Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa

Off-season gov polls: 220 police patrol vehicles deployed in Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa

Ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states, the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered the distribution of 220 operational vehicles f.or election security management.

The force also deployed anti-riot equipment, including water cannons, Armoured Personnel Carriers, helmets, bulletproof vests, and tear gas canisters.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed the development in a statement on Sunday, said the IG urged the stakeholders in the three states to maintain peace during the election.

Adejobi said, “In a bid to have smooth electioneering processes in the forthcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States scheduled for 11th November 2023, the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered the distribution of additional 220 operational vehicles, including water cannons, Armoured Personnel Carriers to the three affected states to intensify security arrangements for the elections.

“Earlier, the IG had organised training for the police officers who are involved in the election security management for the forthcoming elections and sought the approval of the Federal Government for the payment of their allowances and other necessary support to boost the morale of the officers during the operations.

“The IGP, therefore, urges all stakeholders in the three states to embrace peace, uphold the sanctity of the rule of law and be law-abiding in their endeavours before, during, and after the elections as the police and other security agencies have been placed on alert to avert any unruly acts capable of disrupting the elections in any of the states.”

Speaking further on police preparation for the off-cycle polls, the IG explained that the force will Friday complete its operational deployment in the three states.

The IG also announced that dignitaries and Very Important Persons would not be allowed to move around with police escorts on election day, adding that it is in violation of the Electoral Act to move around with security aides during elections.

“No VIP will be allowed to move around with escorts on election day. Election day is an exception. So, no VIP will be allowed to move around with escorts during the elections.

‘’And anyone that does that is violating the electoral law and is liable to prompt arrest, and such people will get dealt with when they’re arrested,’’ the police chief stated.

Election security

He stated this during a Channels Television programme themed, ‘Peoples Town Hall On Election Security,’ monitored by our correspondent on Sunday night.

The IG assured that the force had enough manpower ready for election duty.

Egbetokun said, “We have been able to deploy adequately for the election. In Bayelsa, we’ll be covering 2,224 Polling Units, and we have enough men and resources to cover those polling units.

‘’We have also made the same adequate arrangements for Imo and Kogi. We have done our threat assessments, and we already know how to carry out our deployments, which we have already done.

“We are doing our deployments in phases; we have started; by Friday, we’ll complete our deployment. But presently, we already have additional men and material resources deployed to the three states where the election would take place.

“We want to assure you that the police and other security agencies are ready for this election, and we are sure that it is going to be peaceful.

“We are going to be doing many things differently from the last election because there are enough officers available since it’s just in three states.

“The electorate should be ready to come out for this election and not be scared because of what might have happened in the past.”

Assuring that the incidences of vote-buying would be taken care of, Egbetokun noted, “Our officers have been adequately trained. Vote-buying is an offence according to the electoral law.

“Anyone caught being involved in vote-buying is liable to arrest. Anyone seen being involved in violating the electoral law would be arrested. As for officers’ allowances, it has been approved, and it will be disbursed accordingly.

“Security agents are meant to be neutral and non-partisan, but what you see as partisanship might not be what the police officer sees. Police officers have been told during training not to be partisan. Any officer found culpable of partisanship will not be spared.”

To equip the personnel for election duty, Egbetokun had previously organised training for the officers involved in managing election security and had obtained approval from the Federal Government to pay their allowances and provide other essential support.

Imo CP

Meanwhile, has bowed to pressure from the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, the Labour Party, and Civil Society Organisations  by redeploying the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde out of the state.

Egbetokun made the development known Sunday night during a Channels Television programme, “Peoples Town Hall On Election Security,” which was monitored by our correspondent.

He said the police were not unaware of allegations of partisanship against the CP while noting that the move to redeploy him, however, was not that he had been found guilty as alleged.

Egbetokun said, “We are aware that there are allegations against the Commissioner of Police in Imo. Before the elections, we’re changing the CP. This is not to say the CP has been found guilty. But for neutrality’s sake, we’re changing the Commissioner of Police in Imo State.”

The PUNCH reports that following the attack on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, in Owerri, the Imo State capital last Thursday, the organised labour had issued a five-day ultimatum for the redeployment of  Barde.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party had also expressed its support for calls made for the immediate redeployment of the CP and other officials allegedly involved in the recent attack on Ajaero in the state.

Ajaero, was attacked and brutalised in Owerri, on Wednesday, while he mobilised workers for a protest over their unpaid salaries brutalised.

Amidst the widespread outrage that followed the incident, the NLC and the TUC had accused the Imo CP of being complicit in the attack and threatened a five-day ultimatum for the federal government to replace him.

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