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Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, has warned non-state actors, including the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), to steer clear of Saturday’s election in Anambra State.
Emphasizing that the heavy deployment of security to Anambra State for Saturday’s election was not meant to scare voters, he said the police would deal decisively with anybody who would try to foment trouble during the exercise.
Baba who was speaking on Wednesday during stakeholders’ meeting said the election security was designed to cover the three senatorial districts of the state, 21 Local Government Areas, 326 wards, and 5,720 polling units across the state.
He said, ‘This massive deployment is not designed to intimidate the law-abiding as being insinuated in some quarters.
‘On the contrary, it is to reassure them of adequate protection by deterring misguided political elements as well as non-state actors that might be bent on threatening the election through acts of armed violence or other conducts that violate the provisions of the Electoral Act.
‘It is to also serve as a strong warning that the government is determined to bring such subversive characters to justice should they advance their ignoble, undemocratic and unpatriotic intents.
‘The overriding objective of our operational action plan is to ensure an environment that is peaceful enough to encourage the law-abiding people of Anambra State to exercise their electoral franchise.
‘The message here is clear. For the political actors and electorates that are law abiding, they are fully assured of optimal security.
‘However, for the destabilising elements and other deviants who despite all wise counsels are determined to deploy violence and other illegal means to advance their political interests or constitute a clog in the wheel of peaceful atmosphere for the election, they should be prepared for the consequences of their actions as they will be identified, isolated and decisively dealt with irrespective of their status, ideological inclinations or political affiliation.’
He said the personnel of the Nigeria Police, as the lead agency in election security management, would be impartial, firm, accountable and professional in the exercise of their statutory duties as provided for in the Electoral Act and other enabling laws.
He said, ‘All the security personnel to be deployed are under instruction to be guided by the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty as developed jointly by INEC and security agencies.
‘The document clearly highlights the roles, ethics, and standard of operations of all security agents to be deployed on election security duties.
‘Accordingly, all security agents are fully conscious of the fact that they are under an obligation to perform their functions within the rule of law and civil dictates and that they could be held accountable for any professional conduct that negates the dictates of the Code of Conduct.’
He added, ‘No one is allowed to wear any cloth, emblem or colour signifying any political party to the polling units. No person is allowed to move around with security details around the polling units.
‘Everyone is enjoined to vote and return to their respective houses or remain peacefully within approved perimeters of the polling centres. No one is allowed to move about from one polling unit to another; only INEC accredited election monitors/observers are allowed to move around; only accredited journalists are allowed to cover the election.’
He said praise-singing, drumming, and dancing around the vicinity of polling units were prohibited.
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