By KINGSLEY OMONOBI, OKEY NDIRIBE, IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI & REGINA OTOKPA
…Redeploys police commissioners
ABUJA—BARELY 24 hours to the commencement of the 2011 general elections beginning with the National Assembly elections, the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Mohammed Ringim, yesterday dropped a bombshell by removing and redeploying all the commissioners of police in the 36 States and Abuja.
The redeployment of police commissioners was followed by the deployment of the deputy inspectors general of Police to the six geo-political zones to take charge of, and supervise security operations in the geo-political zones.
The inspector general himself and the DIG in charge of operations, Alhaji Audu Abubakar, will co-ordinate security operations from Abuja.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the redeployment of the police commissioners took many of the State governors by surprise as some of them were said to have been pressurizing the IG in the past few weeks to drop the idea of changing the commissioners arguing that it might affect security strategies for the elections in their states.
A determined Hafiz Ringim who had all along promised that the Police would ensure that all votes count and that he was ready to make security of the elections the best so far, kept his strategy to his chest until yesterday.
The new postings are, CP Saliu Hashimu, Oyo State; CP Suleiman Abba, Lagos State; CP Baba Adisa Bolanta, Delta State; CP Bala Nasarawa, Cross River State; CP Michael Zuokumor, Borno State; CP Olayinka Balogun, Ogun State; CP Haruna John, Kaduna State; CP Emmanuel Ayeni, Plateau State; CP Samson Wudah, FCT; and CP Mammam Tchafe, Kwara State.
Others are CP Tambari Yaro, Imo State; CP Sabo Ringim, Ekiti State; CP Yakubu Alkali, Rivers State; CP Musa A Daura, Adamawa State; CP Orubebe Ebikome, Edo State; CP Aliyu Musa, Taraba State; CP Sani Magaji, Benue State; CP Ibrahim Mohammed, Katsina State; CP Obiakor Emmanuel, Nasarawa State; CP Abdurahman Akano, Jigawa State; CP David Omojola, Yobe State; and CP Adenrele Chinaba, Bayesa State.
Also redeployed are CP Felix Uyana, Akwa Ibom State; CP A. J. Abakasanga, Bauchi State; CP Peter Gana, Osun State; CP Bala Hassan, Niger State; CP Ibrahim Maishanu, Abia State; CP Muktar Ibrahim, Enugu State; CP Da’azumi Doma, Kano State; CP Adeola Adeniji, Ebonyi State; CP Adamu Hassan, Kebbi State; CP Fatai Adio Stittu, Kogi State; CP Olusegun Solomon, Sokoto State; CP Joseph Ibbi, Ondo State; CP Mohammed Indabawa, Anambra State; CP Mohammed J Abubakar, Zamfara State; and CP Suleiman Lawal, Gombe State.
Deployment of DIGs
The DIG second in command to IGP, Mrs. Ivy Uche Okoronkwo is responsible for the South East Zone, DIG ‘A’ Azubuko Udah is responsible for North Central geopolitical zone, DIG ‘D’Ganiyu Daudu is responsible for South West geopolitical zone; DIG ‘F’ Mohammed Yesufu, is responble for South_South; DIG ‘C’ Saleh Abubakar is responsible for North East, while DIG ‘Training’ Yusuf Abubakar is responsible for North West geopolitical zone.
Meanwhile the Police in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has said that 17, 000 personnel would be deployed for the Saturday, National Assembly elections in the territory.
The FCT Police Command made the disclosure in a chat with newsmen at the end of meeting of the Joint Intelligence Consultative Committee on Election Security, yesterday, at the command headquarters in Abuja
The redeployed CP of the Command Haruna John who was also chairman of the committee that has representatives of all the security agencies involved in the general elections as well as the FCT Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the National Youth Service Corps, said the personnel would be drawn from all the agencies.
He said all was set in terms of security arrangements for the polls, pointing out that the committee had used lessons learnt from past elections to establish guidelines of operation for the agencies during the polls.
The Police boss said the committee was committed to ensuring that it would be successfully implemented, even as he said that areas to be covered by each agency had already been determined.
Members of the armed forces who are expected to deploy not less than 1, 000, the chairman said would be responsible for manning the entry and exit points into the territory as well as the presidency and other major facilities in the FCT.
Theirs, he said would be complete coverage patrol which would include stop and search when the need arises, even as he stressed that all agencies involved would stay in contact in readiness for any emergency.
Haruna said that no polling booth in the territory would have less than three police personnel who would be complimented by personnel from other security agencies, pointing out that there would also not be more than 300 voters at each booth in compliance with INEC directives.
The department for State Security Service, SSS, he said would also deploy at least 500 personnel to be positioned in different parts of the city while Customs, Immigration and Prison officer who are expected not to be less than 1, 000 would be deployed within areas close to their locations.
Personnel of the Fire Service, Haruna said would also be deployed to strategic locations for easy access in event of fire out break while the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIO, would be saddled with the responsibility of enforcing movement restriction as well as escorting personnel especially visiting observers among others.
Distribution of non sensitive electoral materials, he said had already commenced with Mobile Police officers escorting the vehicles and also position at the INEC offices in the Area Councils, adding that the accreditation as well as voting scheduled would be strictly adhered to in the FCT.
Don’t be distracted by violence – Jonathan
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the political class, the electorate and other Nigerians not to be distracted by mindless acts of violence and primordial divisive tendencies at this critical period.
The president made the appeal when he commissioned 120 units of four bedroom duplexes Customs Barracks in Kuje, and also laid the foundation of another 240_unit Housing Estate.
President Jonathan who said that everybody has a stake in ensuring that the march towards entrenching democracy is not scuttled, added: “We have to ensure that the 2011 general elections, which come up in less than 48 hours, are conducted in an atmosphere of peace, harmony, mutual respect and healthy competition. Nigeria cannot afford to be distracted by acts of mindless violence and primordial, divisive tendencies at this critical period in our nation’s history.
“We all have a stake in ensuring that the march towards deepening and entrenching democracy and sustained economic growth and development is not compromised by breach of the peace and security in any part of the country.”
INEC allays fears of Nigerians over troops deployment
Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Kayode Idowu stated that though soldiers would be deployed, they would not be present at the polling booths.
He clarified INEC’s position on the matter stressing that the deployment of troops was in line with the nation’s concept of maintaining internal security which is largely the responsibility of the Nigeria Police Force adding that the military had always been an integral part of that concept.
Idowu said: “All the paramilitary agencies in the country and the military constitute part of that concept for maintaining internal security. Therefore, the military can’t be left out. The military would also be needed for rapid deployment if any emergency situation arises.”
Opposition political parties in the country had, Wednesday, rejected the decision of the Federal Government to deploy soldiers for the 2011 general elections.
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, decried the measure taken by government. While the ACN said the use of the military for elections in a democracy was an anomaly, the CPC said it is the duty of the police to ensure there is adequate security during the polls.