The Police said on Friday said it has uncovered plots by some unknown persons to “smuggle in” thugs and ammunitions with the intention to disrupt Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, Leroy Sotonye, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Lokoja, the state capital, also said travellers going through the state would be restricted, screened and properly searched in order to forestall breakdown of law and order during the poll.
The police chief spoke as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and governor of the state, Idris Wada, alleged that one of the parties, the All Progressives Congress, had concluded plans to manipulate the election.
Mr. Sotonye, who was briefing journalists on the rules of the election, urged travellers to either postpone their journeys, seek alternatives routes or go by flight in order to avoid the inconveniences that might be experienced on Election Day.
“If you know you are going to travel through Kogi State, you are advised to either postpone, suspend the trip, go by flight or take alternative routes because you will be stopped by the police,” Mr. Sotonye said.
“We have intelligence that some people are trying to smuggle in thugs and ammunitions and all sorts of things.
“You will be screened and searched. It will be a distraction to the police and we don’t want to be distracted.”
The DIG warned politicians and troublemakers to stay away from polling units and election area as the police were prepared to deal with offenders during and after elections.
According to him, “Our officers have been asked to use their phones to take pictures and videos of incidences so that such persons can be apprehended even after the election,” the police boss stated.
“If we cannot arrest the culprits immediately, we can use the pictures to arrest them after the election and provide evidences to the Election Petitions Tribunal.”
Mr. Sotonye said funds had been provided for police personnel involved in covering the election and deployment of the personnel had commenced in different locations.
He said the allowances would be paid into their accounts as soon as the full details of the list of personnel were ascertained.
He however noted that some of them might not receive the alerts until Monday because banks would not operate fully on Friday.
The police chief urged the electorate to be peaceful before and after casting their votes, warning those who had no business with the elections to stay at home.
PDP Accuses APC of Plans to Rig
Addressing journalists in the office of the state deputy governor’s office on Friday, Phrank Shaibu, the Chief Communication Manager to Mr. Wada, claimed the PDP had uncovered a plot by the APC and its candidate, Abubakar Audu, to use military officers and thugs to “harass and intimidate” voters.
He also alleged that some electoral personnel had been compromised to ensure victory for the APC on Saturday.
According to Mr. Shaibu, a military officer in the rank of Lt. Colonel was deployed to Dekina Local Government Area, to “work in cahoot with the APC to intimidate and harass voters.”
Mr. Wada hails from Dekina LGA.
Mr. Shaibu further said the officer “is an experienced election contractor” with a history of “collaborating” with Mr. Audu.
“INEC Personnel Compromised”
Mr. Shaibu also alleged that some personnel of the Independent National Electoral Commission had been compromised by the opposition APC.
“We have uncovered acts of inducement and bribery by our challengers to compensate electoral officers,” he said.
He said the Electoral Officer for Kogi Local Government Area, Chris Utile, on Thursday afternoon, dropped 40 trained ad hoc staff for new ones brought in two buses from Benue State.
“The (new) persons in question did not go through any training whatsoever. The changes were made Thursday afternoon,” he said.Mr. Sahibu expressed regret that, “all these things are happening under President Muhamadu Buhari who became President in an election conducted under PDP government.”
However, he vowed that, “we shall not lie docile and allow desperate elements to truncate the wish of the people.”
When contacted, Mr. Utile told PREMIUM TIMES denied that he changed the staff of the Commission.
“I don’t even have that power, he said, adding “the list of my trainees is there for everybody to see. They should come and point to who is new in the list.”
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Haliru Kpai, promised to investigate the allegations “that concern INEC.”