No fewer than 69,282 personnel will be deployed to provide security during November 16 governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has said.
Adamu made the announcement on Friday at the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES, meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Abuja.
“The police as the lead agency for internal security is ready for the election in Bayelsa and Kogi.
“We are aware of the security challenges in the two states and we have made adequate provisions in terms of personnel and logistics to tackle any security challenge we might face.
“In Bayelsa, we are deploying 31,041 personnel to cover the election; in Kogi, we are deploying 35,200 personnel.
“These personnel are to cover every terrain in both states, no tout will be allowed in to disrupt election, all those areas will be manned,” he said.
Adamu said that the security of INEC officials and materials were guaranteed and the states’ INEC offices would be protected.
The police boss said that ward collection centres and polling units would be adequately protected as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, offices where the materials would be kept.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the main issue of discussion was the review of security situation and security arrangement for the election holding at the same time.
Yakubu said that the commission had met a couple of times with the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security.
According to him, in these meetings, we reviewed the security situation in Bayelsa and Kogi and how best to secure the environment to enable the commission conduct free and fair election.
“Doing so means providing security that will guarantee safety of voters; protection of INEC officials, unimpeded movement, including access to polling units and collation centers for election officials.
“These include protection of accredited polling agents, observers and the media; effectively and dispassionately dealing with disruptive behaviour by political actors and persons acting on their behalf.
“Enforcement of the restriction of movement in both states on election day and the prompt arrest and prosecution of offenders,” he said.
The INEC chairman said that there were already warning signals in the two states as both states were politically volatile.
Yakubu said risk assessment had identified some flash points which would be shared with security agencies at the meeting.
He expressed concerned that thugs had been mobilized from within and outside the states with the aim of either influencing the election or disrupting the process on behalf of partisan sponsors.
“This calls for a robust response before the election, on election day and during the process of collation and declaration of results.
“Nigerians expect that by now we have learnt enough lessons from previous elections to ensure swift security response to the increasing desperation by political actors to disrupt elections and subvert the will of the electorate.
“If that happens, many Nigerians will blame the electoral umpire and security agencies. We must continue to rise to this challenge.
“On our part, INEC is committed to the integrity of the process,” he said