The Nigeria Police would deploy 66,241 personnel to provide security during governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States scheduled for November 16, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said on Friday.
He was reacting to the fear expressed by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security organised by the commission in Abuja that there would be violence during the elections
The INEC chairman had said, “There are already warning signals in the two States. Both are politically volatile. Elections have been disrupted by violence in the past. Our own risk assessment which will be shared with the security agencies at this meeting has identified some flashpoints.
“We are also concerned that thugs have been mobilised from within and outside the States with the aim of either influencing the elections or disrupting the process on behalf of partisan sponsors. This calls for a robust response before the elections, 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 a 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 the security agencies. We must continue to rise to this challenge.”
The INEC chairman said the commission was committed to the integrity of the process, adding that for the last seven months, “we have been working assiduously to ensure that we conduct credible elections.”
But Adamu assured that the police had been prepared to provide adequate security during the election process.
The IGP said, “The police as the lead agency for internal security is ready for the election in Bayelsa and Kogi States. 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. This personnel is to cover every terrain in both states, no tout will be allowed in to disrupt the election, all those areas will be manned.”
Adamu said that the security of INEC officials and materials was guaranteed while the INEC state offices would be protected.
According to him, ward collation centres and polling units would be adequately protected as well as the offices of the Central Bank of Nigeria where the materials would be kept.