The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday assured the Independent National Electoral Commission of adequate deployment of armed policemen, vehicular patrols and helicopters for security during 2019 General Elections.
Idris gave this assurance in Lagos at a Conference on Logistics for the 2019 General Elections organised by INEC.
He delivered a speech on “Election Security: Providing Adequate Security for the Deployment and Retrieval of Election Personnel and Materials in an Election”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop, which brought together representatives of heads of other security agencies, logistics professionals, transport unions among others was held in collaboration with the European Centre for Electoral Support.
The workshop, aimed at enhancing safe and timely delivery of materials and personnel to polling units across the country during the elections, was equally supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
He urged politicians to avoid conduct likely to precipitate violence before, during and after elections.
He said: “The police is determined to provide adequate security for the deployment of personnel and materials for the conduct of the 2019 General Elections which I am convinced will be peaceful, free, fair and credible.
“Politicians should stop arming their thugs and see politics not as a win or die affair. Hate speech, which is the amber of violence, should be eliminated to ensure violence free elections in 2019.
“Politicians should respect the restriction of movement order by the police on the day of the elections.
“Politicians and their agents should see elections in a sportsman’s spirit and be ready to accept the outcome of the result.”
According to him, if politicians respect the rules of the game, the Police, with support of other sister security agencies, will deliver an acceptable election devoid of violence.
He said that any politician and party agent caught inducing voters with money in Ekiti, Osun and 2019 General Elections would be arrested and prosecuted.
Idris said that INEC’s early engagement with the stakeholders was a demonstration of its determination of the commission to conduct a hitch-free polls in 2019.
He said the ability of INEC to conduct credible election was largely dependent on the ability of the police to provide security for the movement of electoral personnel and materials before, during and after the polls.
According to the I-G, election security involves physical protection and safety of polling booths, election materials and electoral personnel before, during and after the results are collated and announced.
He said: “The prevalence of election violence in the country determines the level of security to be provided by the security agencies.
“Nigeria has its share of electoral violence since the first republic, as such each time election year is approaching, there is apparent fear of violence.”
As parts of the strategies for adequate security in 2019 election, the police boss said that the force would provide armed policemen, vehicular patrol, helicopters to enhance safety of men and materials.
He added that the police would embark on surveillance and intelligence gathering before, during and after the elections.
On Ekiti gubernatorial election scheduled for July 14, the police boss said that the force planned to deploy 16, 186 police personnel including conventional police, PMF and the technical teams.
Idris said: “It is equally our strategy to deploy about 4, 390 security personnel from the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Prisons, the Customs and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to complement the efforts of the police.
“With the arrangement we have on ground, coupled with the massive security deployment, it is expected that Ekiti election will be peaceful and credible.”
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, said that logistics were key to the success of 2019 General Elections, saying the workshop marked the last stage of the commission’s preparations for the polls.
The chairman, who noted that the exercise required careful planning, said deployment and retrieval of personnel and materials for elections called for huge logistics which informed the conference.
According to him, any flop in logistics will be termed as attempt to disenfranchise the citizens, hence the need to plan adequately with logistics operators and security agencies.
NAN reports that key players in the logistics industry such as the Armed Forces, Police, private logistics companies and bulk transporters among others attended the conference.