From Magnus Eze, Fred Itua, Obinna Odogwu, Aloysius Attah
The Nigeria Police has revealed that it is putting the necessary strategies in place to combat any plans by members of Eastern Security Network (ESN) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to cause any mayhem during the November 6th governorship election.
The Police authorities made the revelation on Tuesday at a Roundtable on Anambra Gubernatorial Elections, organised by Professor Abubakar Suleiman-led National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
Representative of the Inspector-General of Police, Ebong Eyibo, who doubles as Commissioner of Police, Federal Operations, Force Headquarters, said the force was well prepared for the election.
He said: “The Police is well prepared. It is our primary duty to protect everybody in this country. Anambra is one of the volatile states in Nigeria. You know the atrocities happening in that state. We are ready for IPOB and ESN.
“We will protect everyone on the day of elections. We know that there are areas that are very volatile. We have divided it into Area Commands in line with the senatorial districts. We will divide these sections according to the polling units.”
Eyibo said critical government facilities which may likely be targeted by ESN and IPOB members, will be protected. He said men and officers will be adequately deployed.
He added: “We will deploy men accordingly. CBN, INEC offices, local government councils and others will be properly policed.”
In his remarks, Director General of NILDS, Professor Suleiman said since 1999, elections have played a key role in the nation’s democracy and observed that over the years, the election systems have significantly improved. He said this has led to confidence in the electoral process by Nigerians.
He said: “However, free, fair, competitive elections are contingent upon several factors, including the level of preparedness, the impartiality of the electoral umpire, the extent of mobilization of the electorates, security, the attitude of political parties and their candidates.
“These and other factors have played a critical role in shaping election outcomes in Nigeria in the last two decades. It is against this background that the Institute has convened this meeting with key stakeholders to discuss and generate ideas on how to ensure the successful conduct of the forthcoming election in Anambra and guarantee that the outcome reflects the will of the people and is acceptable.
“The governorship election in Anambra State is coming at a time when our country is faced with enormous security challenges. In particular, agitations for self-determination by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the activities of its military wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) have heightened tension across the entire South East.
“The dire security situation across these states, including Anambra, is clearly demonstrated in the series of targeted violent attacks on public facilities, including offices and properties of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
“In addition to the challenges posed by the external context, there are serious internal crises confronting the major political parties in the state as well as a deluge of litigations. These are likely to intensify as the election draws closer. Election preparedness has, therefore, become more imperative and all stakeholders have a role to play in improving resilience against the threat posed by criminal organisations, misinformation, voting vulnerabilities as well as the challenges posed by COVID-19.”