The Nigeria Police Force says it will deploy over 300,000 personnel nationwide to provide security for the presidential election holding next Saturday.
It was gathered that nearly every police officer out of the over 350,000 policemen in the country would be actively involved in election duties.
Already, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has deployed six Deputy Inspectors-General of Police to supervise elections in the six geo-political regions in the country.
They are DIG Usman Abubakar, North-East; Godwin Nwobodo, North-Central; Anthony Michael, South-East; Taiwo Lakanu, South-South; Aminchi Baraya, North-West and Yakubu Jubril, South-West.
Confirming this to our correspondent in Abuja on Saturday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, stated that the DIGs were expected to move to their respective operational zones on Monday.
He added that the IG would coordinate the Force Strategic Election Security Operational Plan from the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
When asked to provide the specific number of policemen that would be deployed for the polls, Mba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, declined, but said, “Almost every policeman in the country would be on election duty; that is why we are withdrawing policemen from VIPs.
“Even police personnel in the offices, in control room, including those on decoy operation or intelligence, everyone would be on duty. Our Medical personnel would also be on standby; we are maximally deploying all our resources and personnel for this election.”
Pressed to give the percentage of men that would be deployed, the FPRO said, “We are deploying maximally and would be making utmost use of our human and material resources and the deployment would be overt and covert.
“Deployment of helicopters will be based on exigencies; both the air wing and the marine unit are fully at alert. The canine and the mounted troopers are also fully activated as well as the Explosives and Ordinance Department.”
Mba also refused to name the flashpoints that the police would monitor closely for security reasons,disclosing the areas would not be productive.
“For security reasons, we would not want to label states. We think that would not be productive. The only thing I can say is that the DIGs have been deployed by the IG. They are moving out to supervise the arrangements in each of the geo-political zones. Most of them should be at their geo-political zones by Monday,” he said.
A think tank, the International Crisis Group, had earlier identified Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and Adamawa states as places that are at risk of electoral violence.
It argued that local violence might snowball potentially ballooning into a national crisis, advising that the Federal Government could reduce the risks of election violence by releasing all funds approved for the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to enable them to carry out their duties.
The report said, “The electoral authorities should intensify outreach to political parties aimed at winning their confidence and firm up logistical arrangements, particularly for Election Day.
“Security agencies should act professionally, ensure neutrality between all parties, and finalise contingency plans for preventing or responding to violence.”