From Tony Osauzo, Benin
No fewer than 23,000 Policemen, comprising officers and the rank and file, would be deployed to man 2,627 polling units for the September 10 election in Edo State. The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, Joshak Habila, announced this yesterday in Benin during a visit to the state command to assess the level of preparedness for the election.
Besides, he disclosed that 1,152 Hilux vans and 54 coastal buses would be provided to convey the personnel to their various duty posts across the 18 local government areas of the state.
According to the DIG, the marine police would cover the riverine locations in Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West and Ikpoba-Okha local government area, adding that flash points had been crime-mapped and geo-located for additional security, just as he revealed that a security data plan had been mapped out, in view of the security challenges that affect elections in the country.
He however warned the officers and men of the command to remain neutral and respect the rights of civilians in the discharge of their duties, as the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, would not hesitate to sanction all erring personnel appropriately.
Habila while assuring voters and the media of their safety, further warned that thuggery during the voting exercise would not be tolerated, adding that cases of unlawful possession of firearms would also be addressed swiftly.
Earlier, the AIG Zone 5, Kolawole Shodipo, urged the officers to maintain professionalism in the discharge of their duties.
He reiterated the readiness of the zonal headquarters to provide effective and efficient policing throughout the voting exercise.
The Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, who is the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, noted that five personnel from different security agencies would be stationed at each of the polling units.
Ezike also noted that each policeman on election duty would be identified with a codifying tag to manage the use of orderlies and armed escorts as security details.