The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday assured the people of Osun and political stakeholders of adequate security before, during and after the Sept. 22 governorship election.
Idris gave the assurance in Osogbo during a one-day seminar entitled: “Imperatives of Police Collaboration with Essential Stakeholders; Towards Secured, Free, Fair and Credible Elections in Nigeria.’’
The police boss stressed that the duties of the police during elections include “provision of armed policemen, deployment of vehicular patrols, close monitoring.
Other, he said were “intensive surveillance, deployment of police helicopters and mounting massive check points before, during and after election.’’
He said it was in the realisation of the importance of security, that regular seminar such as this became very important.
“It provides the needed opportunity for conversations around elections and information gathered during these gatherings will complement our usual intelligence service on elections security.’’
He recalled that during the last governorship election in Ekiti state, the police was accused of militarising the elections by posting about 30,000 police officers to cover the election.
“What critics do not understand is that our actions and deployment strategies are guided by the intelligence gathered around a particular election.
“No two states are similar in terms of security needs for election.
He said that the Rivers House of Assembly bye-election was suspended because political thugs and hoodlums stormed polling stations shooting sporadically and snatching ballot boxes.
“The election was in 8 wards and 143 polling units and if the police had deployed 10,000 police officers to those wards, we may have been accused of militarisation of the election.
“I think the police should be commended for the massive deployment of policemen during the gubernatorial election in Ekiti state.
“The deployment averted the plans of political thugs to disrupt the election,’’ he said.
He promised that each of the local government areas in Osun would be adequately policed to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.
The police boss said critical stakeholders would meet to plan further for the election, adding that the police would distribute telephone numbers that residents could call in case of violence.
He admonished politicians and their supporters to desist from conducts that might lead to violence, stressing that anybody caught in any kind of violence during the election would be arrested and duly prosecuted.
Mr Olusegun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Osun, in his address, promised that INEC would ensure free, fair, credible and transparent election.
He urged voters yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCS) to do, stressing that nobody would be allowed to vote without PVC.
The chairman of the seminar, who is also the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, urged politicians and other residents of the state to shun acts that could trigger crisis.
Our correspondent reports that the seminar was attended by governorship candidates of political parties for the election and political stakeholders.
Also in attendance were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi and other reputable monarchs in the state.