The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been charged to ensure the timely delivery of election materials to the polling centres during Saturday’s Governorship and state Assembly polls in Abia.
Mr Anthony Ogbizi, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), supervising the general elections in the South-East, gave the charge on Thursday in Umuahia, during a meeting of the heads of security agencies and political party chieftains in Abia.
Ogbizi expressed concern that the lapses that characterised the Feb. 23 polls in the state, including the late delivery of election materials, inefficiency of the smart card readers and absence of INEC officials at some polling units, created more tension and security challenge. He therefore urged the commission to put the necessary measures in place to avoid a recurrence in Saturday’s exercise.
The DIG also said that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, beefed up the size of police personnel deployed in Abia for the polls.
He said, “The IGP has deployed more hands in Abia for the elections so there will be adequate security.
“People should feel safe to go and vote for the candidates of their choice.”
He said that some of the identified flashpoints in the state, including Ukwa East and West, Osisioma and Umunneochi, would be effectively policed to avert any violence.
Ogbizi said that the restriction of movement was still in force and that only accredited election monitors and observers would be allowed free movement during the polls.
He warned policemen attached to Very Important Persons (VIPs) to desist from moving around with the VIPs during the election period.
He further said that it was mandatory for all the police personnel to dress up in their conventional uniforms and that no one would be allowed to put on the camouflage.
Also, Brig.-Gen. Abdulkarim Ibrahim, the Commander, 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ohafia, promised that the army would remain neutral and apolitical while discharging its constitutional duty during the polls in Abia.
Ibrahim was reacting to an allegation that some army personnel were seen at polling units during the Presidential and National Assembly polls, contrary to the rule of engagement.
He said that although he could not completely deny such a development, it could be an isolated occurrence.
The brigade commander promised that the army would work in synergy with other sister-security agencies to ensure the success of the elections in the area.
He said that the army was fully prepared to ensure a violence-free exercise, warning that they would not tolerate thuggery under any guise.
Ibrahim said that “unconfirmed reports reaching the army indicate that some politicians have sewn militarily uniforms for their thugs to cause violence during the elections.”
He gave assurance that the army would go after such persons, saying, “the army will not stand by and watch hoodlums disrupt the governorship and state Assembly elections in Abia.”
In his speech, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Edet Okon, said that the command was “100 per cent prepared for the elections in ths state.”
Okon gave assurance that the command would improve on the successes it recorded during the Feb. 23 polls.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting was attended by representatives of some political parties and the Inter-Party Advisory Council in the state.
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