The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Anambra governorship election has raised concerns over the “massive” redeployment of police officers in the state, fearing that the development could be counterproductive.
In its first preliminary report on the election, the Situation Room commended the Nigeria Police for deploying its personnel to provide security for the election.
It, however, expressed concerns on the redeployment of police personnel which affected the Commissioner of Police and down to Divisional Police Officers (DPOs).
“These redeployments ostensibly brings in new police personnel who are put out as non-partisan, but raises questions about whether they have new loyalties that could undermine the impartiality of the Police”, the report said.
“In addition, it has disoriented INEC’s preparations for the elections, especially since they are not trained on election duties and come from outside the State with little or no knowledge of the geography of Anambra State.
“This apparently indicates that the police may not be working in tandem with INEC to determine its security needs and priorities.”
The report also said there were reports that the Nigeria Police, without invitation, entered INEC premises on November 13 and barricaded it, ostensibly on a report of bomb scare that turned out to be a hoax.
“Although the Nigeria Police vacated the premises shortly thereafter, we are concerned that the police did not consult or explain to INEC, the reason or justification for entering its premises without invitation”, the report said.
“Apparently the Inter-Agency Committee on Election Security may have collapsed.”
The situation room also said it would monitor INEC’s administration of the electoral process in such areas as distribution of materials and deployment of INEC personnel; timeliness of opening of poll; compliance with election procedures by personnel; the voting process particularly the efficiency of the smart card readers and set-up of the polling units; and collation and results’ tabulation process, particularly access to collation centres and transparency of the process.
It called on all eligible voters to come out on Saturday to freely exercise their franchise and urged INEC to deliver on its promise of conducting credible elections in line with its constitutional responsibility.
It also urged the Nigeria Police to demonstrate a high level of professionalism and non-partisanship.