Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has said fake security uniforms were imported into the country to cause confusion during the general elections.
IGP Adamu said this Tuesday in Abuja during the public presentation of partnership among Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), HEDA Resource Centre, Police Service Commission, Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission (ICPC), National Human Rights Commission, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre on partnership for monitoring, documentation, reporting and prosecuting vote trading with the support of ACTIONAIDS-SRAP and MacArthur Foundation.
Presidential and National Assembly elections hold Saturday while the governorship and state House of Assembly polls come up next month (March 2, 2011).
Speaking at the occasion, the IGP said “All electoral materials and officials will be secured. Every Nigerian is allowed to go and cast his or her vote but must be free without any molestation.
“Our personnel, we charge them to be professional, unbiased. Every police or security official you see must carry tag for ease of identification so that we don’t have fake security personnel because a lot of security uniforms are being brought to the country. Personnel will not carry firearms in the polling units.
“Our personnel will have their eyes open with their ears. Look around for vote buyers and vote sellers, and both will be arrested.
“At the cost of discharging their duties, our personnel are told not to hinder any accredited either local or foreign observers from observing the electoral process. The security personnel will also ensure and keep watch over ad-hoc staff that can easily be manipulated, especially the NYSC members just to ensure there is proper conduct of elections.”
The police boss also said he had set up a special committee ahead of the election.
…Assures observers of safety
Meanwhile, IGP Adamu has said both domestic and foreign observers would be guaranteed of their safety while observing the conduct of the elections.
He said this at a meeting between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the 196-observer groups accredited for the conduct of the elections.
Addressing the meeting, the IGP stated that both local and foreign observers would be identified with tags issued by INEC, saying those without tags should not come out to observe elections.
The police boss also said a number of places which required maximum protection include; INEC state offices, INEC local government offices, ward collation centres, command headquarters , corps members’ lodges , CBN offices, the observers(domestic and foreign).
Adamu further said the three unarmed security personnel had been deployed to each polling unit and voting points and would arrive at the polling units at 5.00am on election day.
He said the personnel would only carry handcuffs and make arrests on the instructions of the presiding officers.
Apart from being on the lookout for other electoral offenders, he also said security personnel would watch out for vote sellers and buyers with a view to making arrests.
He further said similar meetings of the police commands, observers and other stakeholders would be going on at the states.
Adamu said the ‘no movement restriction’ would be observed within INEC stipulated time.
He also stated that the police would be professional and neutral to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
The police boss further said security personnel not deployed for election duties should stay away from polling units, as any security personnel found wanting would be arrested.
“The observers — both local and international — will be identified with tags. If you don’t have a tag don’t come out and say you are observing. We will observe you,” Adamu said.
INEC boss welcomes observers
Earlier, Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had welcomed the 196 accredited observers.
He said necessary security arrangements had been put in place in all the states.
The INEC boss also stated that the observers would be given kits containing observation regulations and guidelines as well as other things needed for their assignment. .
“You are observers and not monitors,” he stated.
NSCDC deploys personnel
In a related development, the Zamfara state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) would deploy 1,050 personnel ahead of the general elections.
The state Commandant, Garba Aliyu, said this at a news conference in Gusau, the state capital Tuesday.
Aliyu said the 1,050 personnel were well-trained, briefed and ready for deployment to the 2,516 polling units of 147 political wards across the 14 local government areas of the state.
He said the command had also set up monitoring teams of well-trained personnel to monitor the elections in the three senatorial districts of the state.
“The monitoring team A is operations armed squad which is to cover central zone comprising Gusau, Tsafe, Bungudu and Maru local government areas.
“Monitoring team B is quick response team which is going to cover Bukkuyum, Anka and Gummi local government areas.
“The team C anti-vandals is to cover Birnin-Magaji and Shinkafi while team D counter terrorism unit which is going to cover Kaura-Namoda and Shinkafi local government areas.
“Apart from the commandant’s team with about 20 officers and men well-prepared for the job, another 27 personnel will be kept at the command’s headquarters for 24 hours, ready for quick response action, especially upon distress calls.”
He further said about 15 personnel would be on special assignments, including technical services, counter and guard duties in order to keep other activities of the command.
He said the overall aim was to ensure effective hitch-free general elections in the state.
Aliyu said the NSCDC is one of the stakeholders empowered by the National Assembly to carry out security duties during the forthcoming general elections.