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…As police deploy 6 DIGs, 24 AIGs, 36,000 tactical personnel for polls
OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
There Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has said it may consider extending the date for the collection of permanent voter cards, PVCs, which ends Friday, February 8.
INEC has constantly emphasized at different for that collection of PVCs will end on February but INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday at the National Stakeholders’ Forum on the 2019 general elections in Abuja stated that, the Commission is meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT to review the collection and take decision, particularly with regard to states with highest unclaimed number of PVCs.
Yakubu assured Nigerians that the elections will not be postponed as being insinuated in some quarters hence INEC is ready for the exercise and has implemented most of the programmes outlined for the 2019 polls.
“I want to assure stakeholders that INEC is prepared for the election. Let me assure the stakeholders and the nation that smart card readers will be deployed in the 2019 general elections. The next issue is voter register and permanent voter cards. We have a lot of complaints from citizens, however the complaints are coming from those who have damaged their PVCs and require replacement as well as those who applied for transfer and relocation but the cards have not been found.
“Some of you will ask that the last day for the correction of PVCs is tomorrow which is Friday, the 8 of November. The Commission is going to meet today after this forum and the next meeting we are going to hold is with security agencies and where it is necessary we will review the arrangement for the collection of PVCs. No Nigerian is going to be disenfranchised for the fault of his or fault of hers.
“We have three categories of ad hoc staff; we have the supervisory presiding officers, is a category. We have the presiding officers and assistant presiding officers 1, 2 and 3. The third category are the collation and returning officers. Our State offices are responsible for the recruitment and training of the first two categories. We are satisfied with the processes including and we are going to do refresher training before the election”, Yakubu said.
He announced that 148 observer groups have been have been approved for the election with 119 domestic and 28 foreign, making a total of 90, 00 observers that would be going round pulling units across the country on election day.
The INEC Chairman who explained that State Resident Electoral Commissioners have been mandated to meet with Commissioners of Police in their respective States to decide on the deployment of Security, said they are to meet with State Chapters of Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers to implement the earlier signed Memoranda of Understanding to ensure that election staff and materials are moved to various pulling units before the arrival of voters at 8 am on election day.
Also speaking, Mohammed Adamu, Acting Inspector General of Police disclosed that the six Deputy Inspector Generals of Police, DIGs will be deployed to the six geopolitical Zones, 24 Assistant Inspectors Generals of Police, AIGs will be deployed across the Zones while 36,000 tactical personnel will also be deployed in addition to regular police to beef up security on the election day.
According to him, “in the tactical unit, over 24,000 mobile police personnel will be deployed, 4000 counter terrorism personnel will be deployed and about 8000 special protection personnel will be deployed”.
“I work tirelessly with the INEC,with the office of the National Security Adviser and other security agencies to make sure that 2019 election is done in a secured manner, in a party professional manner, in a way that a level playing field is up provided for every political party and yo indicate that all the security agencies will be impartial in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“All the Commissioners of Police in the States were made to identify the flashpoints within their States. To identify those that will cause what will lead to the disruption of elections and make sure that we bring them to order before the elections. That has been done. We have done the threat analysis in all the States Commands. The State Commissioners of Police are also going to identify all the polling units and voting points within the Commands in cooperation with the Resident Electoral Commissioners to make sure that all the polling units are known before the day of the election.
“Apart from the regular police officers and other security agencies posted, we have our tactical units like the mobile police force, the counter terrorism unit, our special protection unit are all deployed to give additional security”, he stated.
Adamu said all the Squadron Commanders of Police Mobile Force, Special Protection and Anti Terrorism Units will escort sensitive election materials to the States Branches of Central Bank, Registration Areas and accompany INEC Staff and poll officials especially National Youth Service (NYSC) Members to their duty posts.
He added that there will be no Police Escort for very important personalities, VIPs to pulling units but INEC State and Local Government offices, Collation Centres, NYSC Members Lodges and public utilities will be protected by armed Police personnel while three unarmed security personnel will man each polling unit on the day of election.
The Police Boss promised that before election day, phone numbers of all Police Public Relations Officers, AIGs, Commissioners of Police, Assistant Commissioners of Police and other officers involved in the conduct of the polls available to the public, saying security personnel will be professional and impartial to provide level playing ground for all political parties.
Earlier, Rudolf Elbing, ECES Project Co- ordinator urged stakeholders in the electoral process to support the growth of Nigeria’ democratic system and work with INEC to ensure that democracy is sustained and elections are conducted in the most peaceful atmosphere.
Elbing, the forum “provides electoral stakeholders with the necessary tools to ensure elections are conducted with with operational and logistical efficiency. At the same time dialogue development and dialogue-based decision making throughout the electoral cycle is enhanced.
“Electoral Administration is not a job left with to an Election Management Body alone. There are many other important stakeholders who play vital roles in ensuring the successful delivery of the electoral process.
“It is expected that this dialogue will strength the long term capacities of participants and the Commission to effectively deliver the coming general elections on February 16th and March 2nd, through the provision of requisite information on how far the INEC has fared in its planning and implementation of the Election Project.
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