A total of 21,084 policemen will be deployed to man the Anambra gubernatorial election slated for November 28, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has said.
Mr. Idris made this known Tuesday during a dialogue with the Coalition of Nigerian Civil Society Organizations in Abuja.
He said 17,320 policemen would be deployed to the 4,330 polling units across the state while 280 of them would be deployed to the collation centres.
The inspector-general of police said 2,484 of the security agents would be deployed to 414 major streets in the state throughout the election period.
He said that the Force Headquarters would provide additional 300 vehicles to the 80 operational vehicles in the police command in Anambra.
Mr. Idris said that additional police mobile force units had also been deployed to Anambra and other states in the South-east and South-south for the governorship election.
The IGP explained that the deployment was to ensure that criminal elements were removed from the states before the election.
Mr. Idris said some parts of Anambra State were already marked as “flash/vulnerable points of concerns” that would require “extra security arrangements.”
He listed the areas as Otuocha, Onitsha, Aguleri, Nzam, Anam, Achala, Ihiala, Ozubulu, Umunze, Ekwulobia and Okpoko.
He said that the deployment would build and increase the confidence of the people of the state in the police and other security agencies to protect them.
“I want to assure you that all necessary manpower and logistics to secure the electorate, electoral officials, monitors, observers and materials have been provided for the command.”
Chief among some of the hurdles before the successful conduct of the election is the call for its boycott by the Nnamdi Kanu-led separatist group, Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB.The group has vowed that election will not hold in the state until the Nigerian government accedes to its demand for a referendum for the realisation of the breakaway state of Biafra.
On threat by the IPOB to disrupt the election, the Police boss said more security personnel are already on ground to intervene on any internal violence.
“The command has been directed to liaise with the community leaders such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the presidents-general of the various communities to prevail on their people in Anambra State not to allow their children and wards to be used to cause disruption of the election, disturbance of public peace, law and order.
“The command has equally been directed to synergize with other sister security and safety agencies to ensure the smooth conduct of the election.
“Special Police Patrol of the general areas, stop and search, raiding of criminal hideouts and other crime prevention and control strategies are currently ongoing and will continue throughout the election period and beyond.”
The stage is set for the Anambra elections as the candidates of the three major contending political parties have emerged – Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA; Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, APC; and Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Interestingly, all three are from Anambra North district.
The only other notable contender for the position of governor, Osita Chidoka, candidate for the newly formed United Progressive Party, UPP a former minister of aviation who is believed to have the backing of IPOB is from Anambra Central district.