By KINGSLEY OMONOBI& AMAYO OKOLI
ABUJA – AHEAD of the general elections which begins with the National Assembly, Saturday, the Police High Command, yesterday, commenced the deployment of 600 patrol vans, armoured personnel carriers, bomb detonation vans and anti-terrorist equipment in all commands and Abuja with a view to ensuring security during and after the elections.
This came even as soldiers, police and other security agencies have been warned not to do anything that would mar the exercise.
Speaking at the inauguration of the vehicles and equipment, Police Affairs Minister, Humphrey Abbah, warned that those who disrupted the elections would be dealt with according to the law.
Information on mischief makers
Abbah said: “With the inauguration of these vehicles and other equipment, you can see that government meant it when it promised providing the police with the requirements to ensure free and fair elections. Don’t go to voting centres with guns, knives, arrows and bows or even a stick because you will be fished out. If you have any information on mischief makers, report to the police who will act promptly.”
On his part, the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, said the police have never been so lucky with over 600 vehicles presented to it, noting that the logistics supply would enable the Police to prosecute the mandate constitutionally placed on their shoulders.
The deployment of the vehicles and equipment began even as the Inspector General directed all officers from the rank of police commissioners who were yet to comply with the Federal Government’s directive that tinted glasses that were not factory fitted be removed to do so or face demotion to the next junior rank.
The IG frowned at a situation where Police officers and other members of the force still drove their cars fitted with tinted glasses, noting that it was in total disregard of the directives of the Minister of Police Affairs, thereby depicting the force as unamenable to discipline.
He ordered all officers and police personnel still using tinted glasses both on police official vehicles and private vehicles to heed the minister’s directive, adding that he would direct all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, CPs, MOPOL Squadron Commanders to enforce the implementation of his orders.
Hafiz said: “For the avoidance of doubt, no police vehicle should bear tinted glasses unless it is factory fitted.”
Meanwhile the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Of Nigerian Army, Enugu, Major General Sarkin Yakin Bello, who spoke at the opening ceremony of 82 Division Garrison training exercise for the general elections, warned soldiers, police and other security agencies not to do anything that would dent the image of any of the security agencies.
The three-day training is being attended by officers and soldiers, police officers, operatives of State Security Service, SSS, NDLEA, Immigration, Civil Defence and men of Federal Road Safety Commission.
Bello said that no security agency can do the job of providing security alone, hence the need for all the agencies to work together to ensure good result is achieved. He urged the participants to be attentive in the lectures to be given them.
Bello advised: “Right attitude to duty and desired cooperation among us must be evolved and sustained in order to overcome the numerous security challenges faced by our society.”
Acts of indiscipline
While warning against any act of indiscipline during and after the elections, he urged them to conduct themselves and carry out their duties efficiently.
The GOC reminded the trainees that the objective of the training was to increase their knowledge of internal security operation as well as the techniques and procedures of election duties, and urged them to make proper use of the knowledge their will acquire during the training so as to ensure that they contributed to a free, fair and credible elections beginning from next week.
He noted: “Bearing in mind the limited time available for us to get our acts right before the elections, I urge you to take this exercise seriously. You must, therefore, touch on all grey areas and most importantly, I task you to clear all doubts on issues that would enhance your capacity efficient to discharge all assigned duties effectively.
“You must not forget that democracy has come to stay. This will mean that you must shun all acts likely to discredit the elections and the image of your respective organizations. Note that known cases of indiscipline during elections will attract the appropriate disciplinary action.”