Stakeholders questioned the decision of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba to deploy a total of 34,587 police officers, three police helicopters, the technical capabilities of the Airwing Police, the Marine Force and the Force Animal Branch, and other operational assets for Anambra State ahead of the upcoming governorate elections.
DAILY POST had reported that the IGP, at the 2nd Police Directors’ Strategy Conference for Senior Police Officers in the rank of Police Commissioner and above at Force Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, said the decision aimed to ensure a smooth election in Anambra. State.
According to Baba, the 34,587 personnel comprising conventional police officers, the mobile police force (PMF), the counterterrorism unit (CTU), the special forces personnel, the ordinance unit on explosives (EOD), the force intelligence office (FIB), INTERPOL, the special protection unit (SPU) as well as the police medical teams, will be on site to ensure the protection of lives and property during the election.
The announcement, however, sparked a reaction from relevant stakeholders who poked holes in the IGP’s decision, describing it as preparation for “war”.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke to DAILY POST on Friday also expressed concern that such a move might intimidate voters, saying apathy could spoil the elections scheduled for November 6.
A senior politician who spoke to our correspondent in Benue State on condition of anonymity claimed the move was for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to intimidate other parties and claim the state.
Anambra guber: Police are committed to securing electoral processes, others – IGP Baba âWe know their plans. It is now clear to Nigerians that this APC is seeking power by any means, otherwise how can the IGP mobilize around 34,587 police officers for a single state election? Are we preparing for war? It is obvious.
âWe are all aware of the security situation in Anambra State, but that does not call for this kind of movement. Who will hear this news and vote again that day? Of course, everyone would like to save their life first. I think their plan is to get voters away from the polling station so they can do whatever they want â.
Nigeria Human Rights Writers Association National Coordinator HURIWA Emmanuel Onwubiko told DAILY POST that the 34,587 police officers claimed by the IGP may not be real.
According to him, the Nigerian police do not have precise statistics on the officers deployed in a particular area. He alleged that those responsible for the deployment only came up with the numbers to embezzle public funds.
He said: âThe Nigerian police force has lost focus for a very long time. They always engage in procedures of firefighters, in particular in national affairs. The issue of Anambra’s election does not call on the IGP to deploy such a large number of police in the state.
If the Nigerian government had listened to the ideas and suggestions that so many people, including the right group, HURIWA, NGOs and other stakeholders, have been making for a few years now, it would not have been necessary.
âWe have called on the government to reform the police, but the government seems very comfortable with dysfunctional police.
âNigeria does not even have precise data on the exact number of police officers serving in a particular area. They only use unfathomable statistics to siphon off public funds. There are no statistics to say that we have around 3,000 police officers in Benue state or 4,000 officers in Kaduna state, so the number of people that the IGP said they are sending to Anambra may not even be correct.
“They could just send in 5,000 police officers and tell the Nigerians that they have mobilized over 34,000. The way the Police Services Board was formed makes it clear that it was set up not to function.”
Leader of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, who spoke to DAILY POST from the local government area of ââOzubulu in Anambra state, leader Emeka supported the IGP, saying the state was in plagued by a security crisis since the beginning of the year.
He cautioned, however, against alleged plans by some political parties to take advantage of the security situation in the state to rig the November election, saying the whole world is watching.
âSince January of this year, Anambra state is not the same, there have been killings in many parts of the state. As I speak, many residents have vowed to stay indoors on election day.
âSo if there is anything the government is doing to eliminate voter fear, I think it should be a welcome development. But they should note that we are all ready for election, Nigerians are watching, the world is watching; no body can rig the Anambra elections, so anyone planning that should cancel, âadded Chief Emeka.