The Commandant-General of Nigeria Security and Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Abdullahi Gana, has approved the deployment of 13,311 personnel to beef up security in Edo State as part of efforts to ensure hitch-free conduct of Saturday gubernatorial election in the state.
The men and officers of the Corps were drawn from the headquarters, Abuja and neighbouring states such as Kogi, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta and Ondo to complement the personnel of Edo State Command and Zonal Command in Benin.
NSCDC Public Relations Officer, Mr Emmanuel Okeh in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the Corps has also trained her personnel on the new electoral guidelines in compliance with COVID-19 protocol.
He said more than 60 sniffer dogs would be deployed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office for crowd control and detection of combustive elements as well as Improvise Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Okeh said other specialised unit deployed are mobile surveillance vehicles, the special weapon and tactical unit (SWAT), the Chemical radioactive biological and neutral unit (CBRN) Counter-Terrorism, Operations and Special Duties, Intelligence department, Medical and Disaster Management among others.
He said the measures become necessary to ensure that every act of electoral malpractices, violence, the act of hooliganism and other social vices that could affect the smooth conduct of the elections are being nipped in the bud.
Gana while briefing the participants, representative of INEC Chairman and the representative of the National Council for Disease Control (NCDC) at the Corps headquarters, Abuja spoke on the need for training before the Edo election proper.
Gana reiterated that the Corps as a critical stakeholder in election monitoring would ensure that personnel are properly guided before being fully deployed for any election for the provision of physical security at the polling booth, polling units, protection of the ballot boxes as well as electoral officers.
He also stated that the Corps has a critical function to perform before, during and after the election by educating and enlightening the populace, the political actors and political gladiators to employ a peaceful approach of conducting the electoral processes without rancour.
Gana in deploying the officers appointed Deputy Commandant General in charge of Operations Hillary Kelechi Madu to lead the assignment along with other 3 Assistant Commandant Generals, 7 Commandants to serve as field coordinating officers in charge of the three senatorial districts.
He noted that apart from the election duty, there is need to beef up security around infrastructure and National Assets from being the soft target of attacks by hoodlums and vandals who unduly take advantage of election periods to carry out their nefarious and dastardly act as well as identified black spots and other areas prone to attack and vandalism.
The CG assured the personnel of adequate provision of logistics for the operation and also cautioned that they should work in harmony with other sister agencies without conflict as the Corps will not tolerate any act of misconduct during the operations.
He warned the personnel to deal with the populace with a high level of civility and diplomacy to protect the name and integrity of the Corps.
He urged politicians to eschew violence and allow peace to reign warning that anyone caught would face the wrath of the law.