Anambra poll: Massive security deployment can affect turnout but necessary ― IGP

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba, Thursday conceded that the mass deployment of security personnel for the November 6 Anambra State governorship election may discourage the turnout of voters but sees the measure as necessary to checkmate criminals disrupting the process. 

Featuring at the ministerial media briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he said to ensure that the people come out to exercise their franchise, the police have engaged in issuing jingles and talking to stakeholders to assure them of safety. 

The police boss asserted that most officers that would be assigned to polling stations would be unarmed as they would be involved in checking vote rigging and illegal campaigning at venues.  

Asked if the mass deployment would not be counterproductive, he said: “As for the massive deployment, yes, it has its advantage, and it has its disadvantage, and that is why knowing the fact that it has disadvantage of may be militarizing the electoral process, we try to involve the engagement of public enlightenment, the engagement of stakeholders that our presence is to police the situation in two ways. 

“It is, while we are asking people to come out and vote, another group or other subversive elements are saying ‘don’t come. If you come, we’ll do this, we’ll do that.’  

“So, there must be some level of assurance that we would give to these people to come out and that requires massive deployment of officers and men who would also ensure that the subversive elements do not take over the process. 

“While we have other elements that would police the election, which is mostly…we don’t even deploy them with arms. Those we are deploying to polling stations to ensure orderliness and checking of electoral malpractices, like vote-buying, campaigning in the place and so forth, this does not even require carrying of arms. 

“But you also need to put officers on standby, on patrol that would check the would-be persons that can carry arms against the state.  

“We are trying to educate and enlighten people that our presence is for the benefit of everybody, that our presence is for the benefit of ensuring that they come out and exercise their franchise of voting who they want. 

“And that is the essence of the jingles we are doing, the essence of going to do community engagements, stakeholders, meetings, talking to their religious leaders and so forth.  

“I think it has its advantages; it has its disadvantages, but we try to as much as possible ensure that it is for the advantage of everybody that the massive deployment should take place.” 

The police boss denied formal knowledge of any formal request from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the extradition of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari over his alleged entanglement with the Hushpuppi case. 

Asked to give an update on the request, Baba said apart from what he had gleaned from the social media, he was not aware of any formal extradition request. 

He said: “I’ve not heard about it formally but I have read on social media that there was an extradition request.I’ve not seen it, I’ve not heard it formally. That is one.

“Two. When this issue of Kyari started, we took our own action by constituting a panel to look at the allegation that was made against the senior officer. 

“The allegation was based on receiving gratification and also fraternizing with Hushpuppi and his group and even receiving some instructions and so forth. 

“We looked into all these allegations by a committee that was set up chaired by a DIG, we submitted our report to the SGF for vetting and advice on the findings we have gotten from the investigation. 

“We just received the legal advice from the office of the Attorney General and we are working on it on what to do next in terms of asking the officer to account for what we have gathered in the investigation and what we will do next.  

“But as for the extradition order, I have not received any, I’ve not heard of any.”

Recall that the socialite was arrested in Dubai in June 2020 over allegations of internet fraud and extradited to the United States where he was said to have indicted DCP Kyari. 

The police boss also affirmed that security forces have made efforts to stabilize the security situation in the southeast by launching various operations. 

While noting that the situation had been fluctuating, he said the police was maintaining its grounds and ensuring that crime and criminality were checked. 

“We are not relenting on our effort to see that these things are checked and reduced to the barest minimum if not totally eradicated,” he stated. 

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