Blaring siren and the sound of roving helicopters have become common in Anambra in the wake of today’s governorship polls.
Apart from the stiff competition in the election, there have been security threats.
The secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, through its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, had earlier said unless the Nigerian State calls for a referendum to determine the status of the country, there would be no election in Anambra State.
Despite being labelled a terrorist organisation, members of IPOB staged a demonstration in Onitsha, the Anambra State capital, threatening voters not to participate in today’s election.
Last Friday, members of the secessionist group sang and marched around the commercial town, threatening to unleash mayhem on potential voters.
Today’s election proceedings is keenly watched across the world as its outcome will further chart a new course for Nigeria’s sovereignty and determine the measures being taking to stop unrest.
While the police have deployed 26,000 personnel for the election, the Civil Defence have deployed 13,000 personnel, officials said.
The Army and Navy are also believed to have deployed hundreds of personnel to maintain peace for the elections.
The police deployment comprise police special forces, police mobile forces, Counter Terrorism Units and Bomb Protection Units.
Others are bomb disposal specialists, as well as sniffer and attack dogs. Surveillance helicopters will monitor proceedings from the air, while there will be gunboats on the river Niger, plus 15 armoured personnel carriers and 303 patrol vehicles.
All these are measures put in place to ensure a smooth election and also ensure any threat by IPOB is not carried out. However, some citizens of the state describe the tactics as heavy handed which might have an impact of voters turn up.
“Helicopters are flying around since this week, police and army are everywhere as if its war and not election. I will just stay at home till the election is over any unexpected issue”, Kennedy Omenwa, a television repairer at Onitsha told PREMIUM TIMES.