Kogi polls: ‘Politicians plot to dress thugs in police uniform’
Desperate politicians planning to clothe thugs in police uniform to perpetrate mayhem during the Kogi State governorship election scheduled to hold this Saturday may not realise their motive as security agents have perfected strategies to thwart their plot.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, who spoke yesterday at a stakeholders’ forum in Lokoja, said the police were aware of plans by some politicians in Kogi to clothe thugs in police uniform to disrupt the election, describing the action as a wasteful investment. He disclosed that measures have been taken to properly identify 12,000 policemen that will be on duty during the election.
Arase said the police would be supported by the military, civil defence corps, Immigration, Customs and Federal Road Safety Commission officials to provide effective security during the polls. On the safety of electoral officials, Mr. Arase said that nobody would be allowed to threaten or intimidate them.
He said the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone Eight, Mr. Lawal Tanko, and three commissioners of police would be deployed to coordinate activities of the security agents before, during and after the election.
Also yesterday, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu said the commission would not deploy military personnel for electoral duties in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Yakubu spoke at the inaugural meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Parties Matters at the National Assembly in Abuja.
The INEC on Monday promised to collaborate with the police and other security agencies to ensure hitch -free elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. Speaking when he received Arase at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Monday, Yakubu said the reason for not engaging military personnel is to create an atmosphere where Nigerians can go and vote the candidate of their choice without fear.
At the National Assembly yesterday, Yakubu maintained his stand that the police and men of the security and civil defence will be enough to provide security during the elections. He assured that the peace agreement signed by stakeholders in the affected states will be used as an oath of commitment to curry the support of the people.
While assuring of the commission’s preparedness to conduct peaceful, credible and transparent elections in Kogi and Bayelsa, Yakubu said: “We have set up different security committees to police election in these affected states. At the state level, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) chairs the committee and is deputized by the commissioner of police. At the local government level, it is chaired by the Local Government Electoral Officer (LGEO) and deputized by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO).
“So, for the Kogi and Bayelsa elections, INEC is fully ready. Last week, the stakeholders signed a peace accord towards ensuring peaceful conduct of the polls. We will do everything within our powers to protect the sanctity of the votes. Whatever the people decide will be the outcome, as far as INEC is concerned,” he said.
Earlier, the House Committee chairperson, Aishatu Dukku, while commending the commission for a job well done in the conduct of the 2015 general elections, called on the new team to better the electoral processes in the country.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government and the police to note that there is a limit to which the people of Kogi State can stomach alleged unlawful harassment and detention of its members in the state ahead of the governorship election.
The party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday said: “Our position is consequent upon the Save Our Soul (SOS) message from our Kogi State chapter, informing the national leadership that the police, using men of a special squad, have been arresting, beating up and invading homes of key PDP members in the state.
Information available to us show that police operatives, acting on the orders of the APC government have been hounding, beating-up and arresting PDP members and supporters in Igalamala, Ofu, Dekina, Ankpa and Idah local councils and other areas in the state, ostensibly to intimidate and frighten the electorate and pave the way for some compromised INEC officials to manipulate the electoral process in favour of the APC,” PDP alleged