By Peter Duru
Makurdi—As part of measures to check the outbreak of any form of electoral violence in Benue State, Nigeria Police Force has disclosed that it would deploy over 20,000 of its personnel to the state to ensure peaceful conduct of the 2011 general elections.
The Police personnel would be assisted in the task of ensuring peace across Benue by officers and men of other security agencies operating in the state.
Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, for the Zone, Mr. Donald Iroham, made this disclosure while briefing newsmen at his office in Makurdi.
The AIG informed that the Command would partner all relevant stakeholders in the discharge of that responsibility, adding that the stakeholders were also expected to inform the Police of areas needing improved security operations for the 2011 general elections.
He further enjoined all political parties and civil groups holding processions in the zone to always inform the police 24 to 48 hours before such events to enable the Police provide security cover for them to avoid a breakdown of law and order.
Iroham warned that the Police would not hesitate to disperse any political rally or gathering that is convened without prior information to the police.
According to him, “Our principal objective is to provide security for the smooth conduct of the 2011 general elections. The stakeholders meeting is expected to provide a platform for all involved to make suggestions to the police on how to carry out its responsibilities in ways that would promote free and fair polls.”
He stated that the Zone 4 Police Command comprising Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa States was planning to hold an interface with INEC, Political parties and civil society organizations in the States on ways of ensuring violence-free general elections in 2011.
He informed that the stakeholders’ conference will seek ways of ensuring that the sanctity of the votes cast by the electorates is protected to ensure that every vote counts.
He said the meeting would aim at receiving inputs from the relevant bodies as well as the media on how the command would ensure adequate security for voters and electoral officials to carry out their legitimate duties during the elections.