Anambra election: IGP, Ohanaeze warn IPOB

Biafran supporters

AHEAD of the gubernatorial election in Anambra State on Saturday, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, on Sunday, warned members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to keep off the state.

The warning came as the Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, dismissed claims by the proscribed IPOB that the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State would not hold.

IPOB had threatened that there would be no election in Anambra or any other South-East states unless the Federal Government called for referendum over its call for secession.

The group had also claimed to declare Biafra Republic in all the South-East states and beyond, in its secession agenda.

But reacting to its threat on Sunday, in a statement in Abuja, signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Jimoh Moshood, the police boss said the Force was battle ready to ensure a free and fair election in the state.

According to the statement, members of IPOB, who had promised to disrupt the election, were warned to keep off the state in their own interest, adding that the police would not tolerate any act of lawlessness, before, during after the election in the state or anywhere in the country.

“Anambra State gubernatorial election is scheduled to hold on the 18th of November, 2017. To this end, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has directed that a robust and elaborate security arrangement be implemented in the state to ensure a very secure environment for the conduct of a peaceful, credible and free and fair election.

“The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Department of Operations of the Force has been deployed in the state and will be assisted by an Assistant Inspector General of Police and three Commissioners of Police to be in charge of each senatorial district, to coordinate the security operations and supervise the deployment of security personnel for the elections throughout the state.

“In order to ensure adequate security and safety of lives and properties before, during and after the elections, the Inspector General of Police has approved deployment of additional 26,000 police personnel, comprising the Police Special Forces, Police Mobile Force, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), the Force Marine Police, Conventional Policemen, the Force Armament Unit, personnel from Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), Mounted Troops, the Attack and Sniffer Dogs Section, police gun boats, police helicopters and armoured personnel carriers (APC) to Anambra State and most of this personnel are already on the ground.

“Three police aerial/surveillance helicopters, 10 gunboats, 15 APCs and 303 police patrol vehicles have been deployed for the operations to cover the entire state, including the riverine areas and difficult terrains

“Other security and safety agencies who are members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the state are also deployed to complement the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force during the election.

“Four policemen are deployed to each polling unit along with personnel of other security and safety agencies,” the statement read.

It added that no armed security personnel would be allowed within the polling units, adding that armed police detachments on patrol vehicles would patrol the streets and other locations throughout the state to prevent crime.

Also warning the IPOB, Ohanaeze Ndigbo described those calling for the boycott of the election as enemies of the state, stressing that elections must hold as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Chairman of Ohanaeze in Anambra State, Chief Okeke Ogene, who made the statement on Sunday, said failure to vote would create ground for enemies to thrive.

According to Ogene, “Anambra people have agreed that there will be election in the state. If there is any group saying there won’t be election, we want to put it to that group that the election must take place.

“Anybody insisting that there won’t be election in Anambra State is an enemy of the people.

“If such a group succeeds in creating scene here, it will only be preparing a fertile ground for our enemies to penetrate our territory.

“And if such a thing happens, the next likely thing to happen is a state of emergency, which will not be in the interest of our co-existence,” he said.

Meanwhile, the INEC has scheduled a meeting with all the candidates for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State for tomorrow in Awka.

The chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this in a press release on Friday, said the electoral body was satisfied with the performance of the commission in the state.

He said that the commission was ready for the election and appealed to candidates to play by the rules.

Candidates expected at the meeting are Governor Willie Obiano, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Honourable Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Ezeemo Godwin of the Progressives People Party (PPP) and Chief Osita Chidoka of the United People Party, among others.

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