By Emma Nnadozie, Albert Akpor and Evelyn Usman
LAGOS – THE Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, Suleiman Fakai, disclosed yesterday that the police was ready to ensure a violence free April elections. The police chief gave this disclosure during a visit to Vanguard’s corporate head office, Apapa, Lagos.
He said the Federal Government through the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Hafiz Ringim had supplied enough logistics including allowances to the Police to that effect.
Already, AIG Fakai said, distributions of these logistics which included anti-riot equipment, firearms, head weapons among others had started, adding that all allowances of policemen had been computed and called on Nigerians to contribute their quota towards making the forthcoming April polls a violence free one.
Fakai said the issue of violence in any election was not originally caused by the Police, saying it was politicians that hire thugs to foment trouble during elections. To address this, he said he would be meeting with stakeholders in the zone next week to emphasize on the need to have a collective responsibility of making the election a violence free one.
“This is an issue of everyone coming together and knowing what to do. If Nigerians will play the game according to the rules, you don’t need policemen at the polls. Originally, troubles during elections are not caused by the police, it is the politicians that hire these thugs, or what you call Area Boys to cause trouble. And in the face of this, you do not expect the police to fold its hands,” he said.
On the preparedness of the Police, Fakai hinted that aside the newly procured equipment, training of men and officers had begun in earnest with every policeman that would participate in elections being told what to expect and do.
He said the policemen had been warned to be impartial, adding that experience gathered from past elections would also form part of such training.
Expressing concern over the proliferation of firearms which has resulted in the death of police officers, the police boss said measures were on ground to mop up arms.
His words: “Honestly I am touched by the killing of policemen by armed robbers. What these robbers normally do is to ambush our men and fire into their patrol vehicles. It is not because of lack of training or wherewithal, but we are on top of ths situation.
What we have put in place is to mop up arms and I think with this, arms proliferation will be greatly reduced and by extension the killing of our men.”