The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday justified the huge deployment of police personnel in Ekiti and other states were elections held, saying it was solely to curtail the activities of political thugs.
He also said that adequate security would be provided before, during and after the September 22 governorship election in Osun State.
Mr Idris spoke at a one-day sensitisation seminar, titled: Imperatives of Police Collaboration with Essential Stakeholders; Towards Secured, Free, Fair and Credible Elections in Nigeria, which held in Osogbo.
He listed the deployment of armed security men, vehicular patrols and close monitoring as part of the functions of the police during an election.
Mr Idris noted that during the Ekiti State governorship elecrion, the police was accused of militarising the elections by posting about 30,000 police officers to cover the election.
“What critics do not understand is that our actions and deployment strategies are guided by the intelligence gathered around a particular election,” said Mr Idris.
“No two states are similar in terms of security needs for election.”
The police boss opined that the Rivers State House of Assembly bye-election was suspended because political thugs and hoodlums stormed polling stations shooting sporadically and snatching ballot boxes.
“The election was in eight wards and 143 polling units and if the police had deployed 10,000 police officers to those wards, we may have been accused of militarisation of the election,” Mr Idris said.
“I think the police should be commended for the massive deployment of policemen during the gubernatorial election in Ekiti state.
“The deployment averted the plans of political thugs to disrupt the election.’
He promised that each of the local government areas in Osun would be adequately policed to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.
Mr Idris further said critical stakeholders would meet to plan further for the election, adding that the police would distribute telephone numbers that residents could call in case of violence.
He admonished politicians and their supporters to desist from conducts that might lead to violence, adding that anybody caught in any kind of violence during the election would be arrested and duly prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Olusegun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun, in his address, promised that INEC would ensure free, fair, credible and transparent election.
He urged voters yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards to do, saying that nobody would be allowed to vote without PVC.
The chairman of the seminar, who is also the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Eyitope Ogunbodede, urged politicians and other residents of the state to shun acts that could trigger crisis.