Metro  

Police deploy over 10,000 personnel to Imo state

Distribution of election materials to the 27 Electoral Officers (EOs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Owerri, Imo State…yesterday

To ensure the provision of adequate security during the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Imo State today, the state Police Command has deployed over 10,000 personnel, in addition to monitors dispatched from the Force headquarters in Abuja.

Speaking yesterday during a radio programme on an Owerri -based station, its Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ikeokwu Orlando, disclosed that the Command was confidant that the number of personnel, in synergy with officers from the sister security agencies, the issue of violence would be adequately tackled.

He stated that black spots, vulnerable spots and flash points, such as Ohaji /Egbema and Oguta Councils would be taken care of with the assistance of two more Deputy Commissioners of Police, and five additional Assistant Commissioners of Police from Abuja, including the sitting Division Police Officers in the areas, adding: “We have over 10,000 policemen in this election.

Combat (mobile police), counter- terrorists, anti-kidnapping, SARS, all intervention forces will arrive today (yesterday).

“Our men have been retrained and re- sensitised. We have told them dos and don’ts of the process. So, they know what to do and what not to do. They won’t accept anything, whether food or not, despite that that day, there will be no food anywhere.

“But allowances have started trickling in the last four days into everybody’s (officers on election duties) accounts to enable them prepare themselves before coming to work, because it is going to be a long day from the polling centre. We want to be proactive and not reactive.”

The Police spokesperson dismissed the allegation that it received 100 Toyota Sienna vehicle from the state government through Governor Rochas Okorocha in November last year to work for him and his line up of candidates in the elections, insisting: “The state government donated the vehicles to us to check crime and criminality, not for the purpose of this election.

“It might interest you to note that the Sienna got to us sometime in November last year and it is not for the purpose of this election, but to check crime and criminality. We were not given instructions to assist them (Okorocha and others) in any way.”

He disclosed that in line with the directive of the acting Inspector General of Police, the Command has withdrawn all the officers attached to the Very Important Persons (VIPs) and redeployed them to election duties, adding that only persons on essential duties, such as doctors, nurses, medical personnel and journalists would be allowed to move around during the restriction period (6am to 4pm).

Ikeokwu explained that voters, in line with electoral guidelines, should, after casting their votes, either go back to their homes or stay 300 meters away from the voting point.

He said investigations were still going on regarding fake soldiers arrested recently for working for some politicians, adding that at the appropriate time, those fingered would be unearthed and prosecuted accordingly.

He warned that security personnel would not take it kindly with any politician or individual caught moving around with armed bodyguards.

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