The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Research and Planning, Adeleye Olusola Oyebade who is heading police operations for the Edo State governorship election coming up today, (Saturday) has vowed that his men will not spare anybody no matter how highly placed who tries to foment trouble or prevent the electorate from exercising their franchise at the poll.
“Let me tell you, we are not going to spare anybody who plans to disturb the peace and tranquility of Edo State before, during and after the governorship election. Our men are fully on ground. We have deployed over 31,000 officers and rank and file and they are fully covering all the nooks and crannies of Edo State. Whoever plans to foment trouble will regret his action. We are fully determined to ensure safety of people and properties and we will not compromise that. We are fully ready, we are on ground and we are assuring the Edo electorate that they have the freedom and peace to choose whoever they like in today’s election.
“What I am saying is that anybody who intends to disturb the election on Saturday September 19, 2020 in Edo will never go unpunished. He or she will face the full wrath of the law of the land”, the police boss stated in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun.
While restating that they have every logistics already provided by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, DIG Oyebade said that’s enough motivation to carry out their duty in the Edo election without fear or favour.
Talking tough on their preparedness to crush trouble makers, Oyebade said “We are not going to take any chance, rather we warn criminals to steer clear of the Edo election . Any attempt to snatch ballot boxes and papers will be resisted. Our Air Wing will adequately patrol and ensure peace at the riverine areas before, during and after this governorship election.
“IGP Adamu said the security architecture to be adopted during the periods; before, during and after the election should be such that will provide a level playing ground for all parties involved. We are here to ensure a hitch-free, fair, credible, all inclusive and safe election in Edo state”.
“The police as the head of the agencies involved in the exercise will definitely work in synergy with our other sister security agencies to achieve the laudable objectives. Our officers and men to be deployed have been trained to be fair, firm and be professional to the core. The fundamental human rights of the citizenry shall be well respected, no stone shall be left unturned in our collective bid to make the election violence free”, he assured. DIG Oyebade explained further that “the protection of INEC officials, electoral materials, international and local observers, the electorate and other critical stakeholders shall be pursued will all seriousness it deserves, with the fear of God, passion and sacrifice to serve without fear or favour and commitment to do the right thing according to the rule of law. The task of having a successful and acceptable election in Edo state is a task that must be done”.
In the same vein, the Commissioner of Police in charge of Police Mobile Force, Mr. Mohammed Akeera has said that the commanders of 79 MPF Squadrons are already on ground in Edo State and determined to exhibit high level of professionalism, neutrality and embrace a citizen friendly approach in their duties during today’s election.
Speaking earlier at a press briefing on Wednesday, Oyebade, had revealed that the police was determined to make the election “safer and more credible.”
According to him, “Although perfection is unattainable, we should strive towards it. Although previous elections may have had their attendant challenges, it is our resolve to improve on them, and make the 2020 Edo State governorship election freer, better, more inclusive, safer and more credible. The credibility of this election and subsequent ones is nonnegotiable and undebatable.
“The gubernatorial election scheduled to hold in the state on 19th September, 2020 provides another litmus test of determining the strength or otherwise of our democratic process. Elections in Nigeria have often been marred by plethora of election malpractices and violence. Violent elections can exceedingly debase the very essence and foundation of our jealously guarded nascent democracy. Elections marred by violence, and other forms of malpractices cannot be said to be free, fair and credible. Election violence can breed fatalities and abruptly cause injuries to the psyche and physical bodies of victims, leaving with them perpetual pains. Not only that, violent elections could dehumanize us and bring us to avoidable opprobrium in the comity of dignified, civilized democratic nations.”
Oyebade listed measures already taken to ensure effective security during the election. He said, “Part of sincere efforts to ensure security for elections is the setting up of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES). The Committee which is replicated at the State and Local Government levels comprises members drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, the Armed Forces, the Department of State Services, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Correctional Service, (formerly Nigerian Prisons Service), the Nigeria Customs Service, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and INEC which serves as Secretary to the Committee. The Committee is saddled with the onerous responsibility of providing security in the electoral process at all levels and ensure very transparent, peaceful, free, fair and credible elections that meet international best practices.
“To achieve its mandate therefore, members of the Committee are determined to work assiduously with common purpose and collectively without fair or favour. The Committee will ensure that the confidence reposed in it is not betrayed. On its part, the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with members of this Committee and other relevant stakeholders, is determined to ensure that the election is not only free, but also fair, transparent and credible.
“Adequate police officers comprising conventional, plain-clothes policemen and Special Forces have been deployed to provide robust security before, during and after the election. We have carried out security threat analysis hence, all identified vulnerable points, entry and exit points have been mapped out for special security coverage. The military is expected to perform the required complementary role of outer cordoning. The police officers have been properly briefed on their roles and expected conduct during the election, bearing in mind strict adherence to the principles and rules of the code of conduct for officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force. All other security personnel deployed for the election must also adhere to the code of conduct and rules of engagement on election duty.
“For effective manning of the polling booths, no fewer than three police officers will be deployed in each of the 2,627 polling booths. This is aside officers from other recognized sister agencies. We assure the good people of Edo State that the police officers deployed for this special assignment will be apolitical, neutral and professional in their official, constitutional responsibilities. The police officers and their counterparts from other sister agencies who are involved in the election will be posted to polling booths by name, and would wear identifiable tags for easy identification.”
Also in an exclusive chat with Saturday Sun in Benin, Akeera said the Police Mobile Force which has remained at the forefront of tactical operations in the country is central to the operational plans of the Force towards a successful election in Edo State. He stated that the Edo election is coming on the heels of the just concluded Police Mobile Force Commanders’ course held at Ende Hill, Nasarawa State, which would enable officers to make use of new insights and experiences drawn from the training to positively impact their leadership roles in the election and beyond.
“I am assuring the residents of Edo State of the full preparedness of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force in conjunction with other security agencies and other critical stakeholders in the election to ensure the success of the poll in Edo State”, Akeera said.