The Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase, yesterday disclosed in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, that no fewer than 14,000 officers and men of the Nigeria Police would be deployed in the state during the December 5 governorship election.
This came was the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it had released the outstanding Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) from the recent continuous voters’ registration exercise to the INEC office in Bayelsa State.
Arase said they would be complemented by a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and three commissioners of police.
The IG made this known while briefing officers and men at the state police command ahead of the poll, while also expressing the readiness of the police in providing adequate security, before, during and after the poll.
“We are very ready for the state election. We did a similar thing two weeks ago in Kogi State and we have decided to replicate it again here in Bayelsa State.
“We are going to deploy approximately 14,000 officers and men of the force in all the eight local government areas. We are going to dominate the security space and have aerial surveillance.
“We are going to lock down the waterways. A DIG would supervise the election with three additional commissioners and about 15 units of police mobile force. So, we are very ready,” he said.
On speculation that some political parties planned to use fake policemen during the poll, the police boss explained that such venture would not work.
“The use of fake policemen will not be possible because we have a unique identity for each policeman we are going to deploy for the election.
“So, anybody who has invested in trying to get uniforms or get in fake policemen, I think that is bad investment. It cannot work,” Arase added.
He dismissed claim that policemen would be used to rig the poll, stressing that the police are apolitical.
According to him, “We are agents who enforce the law. We are not the one to conduct the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the body to conduct the election.
“The police job is very simple-to ensure that we put in place robust security architecture that will enable people to move and vote fairly and freely in the election.
“So, I do not know about anybody influencing anybody, certainly not under my watch.
“I came with the INEC chairman. We want to have an interactive session with stakeholders in the state to reassure them that we are prepared to conduct a free and fair election.
“I am also here to talk to my officers and men on what I expect them to do as law enforcement agents during the election.”
The police boss warned the officers and men against any unprofessional conduct that would drag the name of the federal government and that of the police in the mud.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, disclosed in Yenagoa yesterday while briefing journalists on arrangements towards the successful conduct of the election that INEC has released outstanding PVC.
The INEC boss, who was in the state in company of the Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase, for a stakeholders’ meeting, said the PVCs were delivered yesterday morning.
“All the PVCs have arrived in the state. Over 52,000 cards have been handed over to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for onward distributions
“I have instructed the REC to ensure effective distribution of all the PVCs,” he said.
Yakubu who assured the people that no voter would be disfranchised in the election, insisted that only card reader machine would be used both in the Bayelsa and Kogi States supplementary election taking place same day.
“We have tested and recharged them; we even have a backup to sustain the process,” he added.
The INEC boss said the terrain of the state would not pose any challenge to the personnel of the commission, stressing that all manner of persons, including the physically challenged, would be given equal access to the bailout box.
The REC in the state, Baritor Kpagih, had at the weekend said only the PVCs for four local government areas had been delivered from the INEC headquarters, raising fears that some electorate in the remaining four local government areas could be disenfranchised.
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