Elections: We’ll ensure maximum protection of electoral materials, AIG of Police assures
The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone Eleven, Leye Oyebade, has said that the police are going to provide security for election materials and the electoral officers to ensure maximum protection in preparation for the elections taking place on February 23 and March 9.
The AIG stated this on Tuesday at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Ibadan, Oyo State, during a visit to monitor the preparations towards Saturday’s presidential election.
Oyebade, who said he had been mandated by the Inspector General of Police to move round INEC offices in his zone, “to ensure that we cross all ‘t’s and dot all the ‘i’s, stated further that he had been going round to interact with stakeholders on how to make the election peaceful.
“Before coming here (Ibadan), I have gone round, and we also have our own election monitoring team, which is monitoring what is going on and where.
“From the police angle, I want to assure you that we will continue to improve upon on what we have on ground on the security of the materials.
“The Central Bank and local governments, where the materials will be kept, will be 100 per cent secured. We will also protect the electoral officers. Offenders would also be properly investigated,” Oyebade assured.
He said that Oyo State was ready for the coming election, going by the assurance he got from the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
“I believe we are ready for the election. In the next few days, we will still meet with commissioners in Osun and Ondo states on how to perfect our operation for the election.
“We are also accessible. Our phone numbers are on throughout the day and there is no time you call that we won’t answer the call. Call us in areas you are having challenges.
“Everybody has a role to play in the election, and if we all play our roles well, then we will have credible, free and fair election, the AIG further remarked.
In his remarks, the Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mutiu Agboke praised the efforts of all security agencies in ensuring the security of electoral materials immediately the INEC chairman announced election postponement.
“We were already in the middle of deployment of the materials when we received information that the election had been postponed. So, we needed to take the materials back so that we can ensure their security.
“Immediately, I quickly put a call to the Commissioner of Police, who ordered deployment to fortify our office and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“To that extent, it has given credibility to the system. As at that time, armed policemen were stationed at various local government offices. So I have to appreciate the state police command,” Agboke said.
The REC said that as directed by the Commission, “we have reconfigured all our smart card readers. We have also ensured that some of the sensitive materials have been arranged at the CBN in such a way that when we are reconvening, we can easily remove them and deploy them to the 33 local government areas of the state.”
Agboke appealed to the police to fortify the election environment, saying that some supervisory officers, said that there were no armed policemen at some centres, and that they were almost attacked by hoodlums.
The state Commissioner of Police, however, assured that his officers and men would give necessary support in terms of security, just as enjoined the electorate to play their roles effectively.