INEC, security agencies move to quell violence ahead of Kogi, Bayelsa polls

Ahead of the November 16 governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the country’s security agencies have identified major flashpoints in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

Due to the history of violence in both states; INEC and the security agencies have decided to nip the menace in the bud to prevent any bloodshed.

The inspector-general of police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; also explained that the security agencies were not unmindful of the threat the flashpoints posed to the polls.

He said that 66,214 policemen would be deployed in Kogi and Bayelsa States to man all the polling units; INEC offices, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offices, and the collation centres.

Also, the national security adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno; said that they were aware of the volatile nature of Kogi and Bayelsa States when it comes to the conduct of elections and warned politicians to shun all acts violence as security personnel would be deployed in the states to protect Nigerians.

Speaking at the regular quarterly Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), INEC chairman; Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the stakeholders had identified the flashpoints.

 

Yakubu, who did not name the flashpoints for security reasons, said that the meeting offered an opportunity to them to review the security situation in Kogi and Bayelsa States, which are known for electoral violence.

He said: “There are already warning signals in the two states. Both are politically volatile. Elections have been severally disrupted by violence in the past.

“Our 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 have been reassured by the security agencies that election day activities at polling units; collation centres will not be disrupted by hoodlums neither will political thugs be allowed to cart away results sheets or compel our returning officers to make declarations under duress.

“We are equally reassured that security personnel will adhere strictly to the standard operational guidelines and deal decisively with misconduct by their personnel on election duty.

“With the sheer number of personnel the security agencies are deploying in the two states; there can be no excuse for the processes to be undermined by anti-democratic elements,” Yakubu said.

On his part, Adamu said that as the lead agency in internal security; he was prepared for the elections, adding that the police were aware of the security challenges in Kogi and Bayelsa.

“We have made every arrangement to overcome any security threat. For Bayelsa State, we are deploying 31,041 personnel for the election. For Kogi, we are also deploying 35,200 policemen for the elections,” Adamu said.

Ng daily

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