FG To Flood South-South States With Security Personnel For Gubernatorial Elections, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Penciled Down

On Tuesday, indications emerged that states which are prone to electoral violence and malpractices are set to be flooded with security personnel in the course of the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, which is slated for March 9.

This much was gathered after President Muhammadu Buhari met with all the service chiefs, including the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali.

Among states where security presence will be much visible are Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and a number of states in the South-West that witnessed killing of the electorate during the presidential and National Assembly elections which held on February 23.

The Police IG, who spoke to State House correspondents on some of the security measures to be adopted, said the police would visit anyone who engaged in ballot box snatching and thuggery with ruthlessness.

Adamu revealed that over 300 persons had been arrested in connection with various irregularities in the recent polls, noting that as soon as investigations were concluded, they would be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

“In Bayelsa and other states within that zone, we have taken notice of the fact that people there are prone to violence, so we have increased the number of security personnel that will be posted there.

“Also, we have increased the intelligence outfit that will be posted there, so as to help us identify those people that are trying to cause problem, so that we can take them out of the environment before they cause any problem. Therefore, there will be increase in security personnel”, he said.

Asked to comment on alleged partisanship and over-involvement of security personnel, military inclusive, in the recently held presidential election, he said the report of local and international observers which adjudged the process free and fair was enough justification to submit that the election was transparently done.

According to him, Nigerians should not engage in voter apathy as security would be adequately catered for when they come out to exercise their franchise on March 9.

“Well, as I said before, everybody, the lives of Nigerians are secured in terms of provision of adequate security to come out and vote.

“If you judge what you have said with the report of the international observers and local observers, you will see that both the local and international observers have adjudged the process to be peaceful.

“So, pockets of challenges you get here and there did not affect the peaceful conduct of the elections. The process was peaceful and credible,” he explained.

On those arrested so far, he said: “Investigation is ongoing. There is an investigative team that has been setup, headed by the Commissioner of Police in charge of legal matters, they are compiling the case files, they are investigating them.

“At the end of the investigation, the police, liaising with INEC will prosecute them.”

The IG, while giving insight into what transpired at the meeting, said: “We are all aware of the fact that we just concluded the presidential and National Assembly elections and we want to congratulate Nigerians for the peaceful conduct of the elections and we are prepared now for the governorship and the House of Assembly elections in the country.

“We’ll like every Nigerian to come out and cast his or her vote. The security arrangement we provided during the presidential elections is being enhanced so as to provide enabling environment for everybody to come out and cast his or her vote for their preferred candidates.

“We will again advise those that will want to disrupt the process to rethink because during the presidential election, we had some few challenges here and there…, we’ll not allow those challenges to repeat themselves. We are taking more security measures to address those pockets of challenges we noticed.

“So, thuggery again is not allowed, ballot snatching is not allowed, disruption of the election process is not allowed.

“We, the security personnel, have resolved to deal ruthlessly with anybody that attempts to disrupt the process of this election. For that reason, we expect, in every state, the conduct of the election should be respected.

“We expect that electoral materials must not be tampered with, we expect that the INEC officials would do their work without fear or favour and without being allowed to compromise.

“The same thing, the security personnel are to perform their duties without allowing themselves to be compromised.

“So, we have heightened the security arrangement to make sure that the election goes without any hitch.”

While fielding questions on the discrepancies that trailed the presidential election in some states, especially on arrest of hoodlums who tried to disrupt the process, he said: “We’ve made a number of arrests all over the country but probably we shall come out with the number of arrest we have made in terms of those that disputed the process of the election in some areas within the country. We have a lot of arrests.”

Apart from the IG, other stakeholders present at the meeting included the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali; Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, and Chief of Air Staff, Abubakar Sadique, among other top security personnel.


Let us know what your thoughts are on this story in the comments below.