By Joseph Erunke
THE Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, has decried the large number of security personnel deployed to Ekiti State to provide security in the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The group insisted that the large number of security personnel cutting across the nation’s military and paramilitary agencies deployed to Ekiti for the election was unnecessary given that the state was not at war.
To this end, CEPEJ tasked the government to immediately redeployed some of the security personnel to states like Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Adamawa and other states facing herdsmen attacks.
Addressing the media in Abuja, yesterday, National Coordinator of CEPEJ, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, alleged the the government’s action was aimed at not only intimidating Ekiti voters but also to harass them during the election.
Comrade Mulade, who read the group’s prepared text before newsmen said:” One may ask, why should the Nigeria Police deploy as much as 30,000 police officers and men just for a governorship election? You can also imagine the number of soldiers, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, DSS and other paramilitary outfits deployed. “Why not Zamfara in the North West and Plateau and Benue in the North Central where massive and cruel killings are taking place?
“The development, is it to intimidate the people and deprive them of their rights? By this act, the people of Ekiti State are tactically disenfranchised because the presence of these number of security agents breeds an atmosphere of fear and intimidation cajoling the people to stay away from polling units and invariably denied from casting their votes.”
“We are calling on security agencies, INEC and the government to provide an enabling environment free from intimidation for free, fair and credible election. Security agencies especially, the police must conduct themselves professionally.
There is no war in Ekiti State, what we have is election, therefore, the security agencies must be neutral and allow the people to freely exercise their franchise. It is the people’s right.”