From TUNDE RAHMAN and NGOZI UWUJARE, Akure
The Nigeria Police yesterday deployed over 11, 000 policemen to various parts of Ondo State ahead of today’s governorship election, with a warning that any policeman found wanting would be punished. Speaking with Saturday Sun in Akure yesterday, Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Indabawa, who has been redeployed to Ondo State to supervise the election said the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) and the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone X1 are also in the state to ensure that security is intact and that a peaceful election is recorded in Ondo State.
He said three state commissioners of police are also heading security arrangement in each of the three senatorial districts. Indabawa said, in addition to the policemen being deployed, other security agents, such as the Army, Navy and para-military organisations have also been deployed, warning trouble makers to leave the state, as their activities would not be condoned. He appealed to the public to be law-abiding, saying they should allow peace to reign during the election, adding that all hands were on deck to ensure peace and order. He said that the number of policemen deployed is enough to cover all the polling booths as, according to him, the curfew imposed at the border of the state is to ensure that hoodlums are not allowed to operate or bring in ammunition. .
He further advised the residents to obey the order on restriction of movement during the period of election, adding that “fortunately for them, election day is Saturday and it is not an official working day.” People should just carry out their civic responsibility of casting their votes and stay in their houses.” Indabawa further said that policemen have been given series of lectures on their roles during the election, saying, “any of them found wanting would be adequately punished.
“The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has said that anybody found wanting in his or her duty during this election will be sanctioned. If I am found wanton I will be punished for it. So, in the same way, any officer or rank-and-file that is found wanting during the election monitoring will not go unpunished .” Indabawa dismissed the insinuation that there will be ballot boxes snatching, saying, “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, was here on Wednesday and said such an exercise will be void because, according to him, the ballot papers and boxes as well as result sheets are serialised and so it will be detected if such happens.
“You know we are improving on our elections. The 2011 election was rated better than that of 2007. The last Edo State governorship election was described as the best in Nigerian history. We want to ensure that this election in Ondo State is better than that of Edo.” AIG Orubebe and DIG Operations, Mr. Leha corroborated all that Indabawa said, as they told Saturday Sun that they were sure of a peaceful election and that people should not be afraid, but should come out and vote.