The Cross River Police Command is ready to provide security for the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Feb. 23 across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Mr Austin Agbolanhor, state Commissioner of Police, made this known in Calabar on Tuesday while briefing newsmen after a stakeholders’ meeting with security chiefs at the secretariat of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Agbolanhor said that security agencies in the state were working to ensure crisis-free polls in the state.
He explained that peace had returned to Etung Local Government Area of the state after a political crisis that claimed the lives of five persons in Bendeghe community in the area.
“The real cause of that issue was that the two prominent political parties were having a reconciliatory meeting without informing security agencies and they had a clash which resulted in loss of lives.
“The crisis was political. On our part, we have been monitoring the area and peace has since returned to the affected community.
“I am giving 100 per cent assurance to all law-abiding residents in Cross River that they can go about freely to exercise their franchise on Feb. 23.
“Everyone who chose to be a trouble maker or ready to disrupt the process will face the wrath of the law.
“I want to use this medium to advise residents in the state that nobody should ever attempt or make a move to snatch ballot papers,’’ Agbolanhor said.
Dr Frankland Briyai, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, said that both sensitive and non-sensitive materials were ready for the election in all council areas of the state.
Briyai said that all ad hoc staff had been recruited, saying that the transportation arrangement to convey the materials and security personnel during the polls had been perfected.
“We just came out from the Inter-Agency Consultation Committee for Election Security meeting.
“I can assure you that adequate security measures have been strategised and are going to be actualised on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,’’ he said.
Briyai debunked some online reports that he was working in favour of a political party ahead of the election, saying that the reports were false.
Mr Chidiebere Nkownta, state Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said the corps had been saddled with the task of moving electoral materials in the state.
The sector commander told newsmen that the corps was working closely with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to ensure smooth movement of the materials.
“Before now, there was a survey and it was decided that 1,152 vehicles will be required for the movement of both persons and materials to the 18 local government areas of Cross River.
“As we speak, all the vehicles are on ground and have been certified by the FRSC. The owners of the vehicles have received over 50 per cent of their payment so far.
“I can assure you that there won’t be any problem with logistics; both movement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials.
“The aspect of security has been taken over by the police. Ours is to ensure that the vehicles are there and the roads are safe,’’ he said.
Nkownta said the corps’ personnel had been deployed to strategic places.