Security agencies have embarked on various measures to prevent breakdown of law and order in the 36 states of the country in today’s presidential election.
The Abia State Police Command deployed 12,000 personnel to monitor the poll.
Addressing journalists in Umuahia, the state capital, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joshak Habila, said the objective was to ensure that the election was hitch-free.
Habila said, “We have the ability to respond to any breach of the peace in any part of the state and we have all it takes to secure the electoral process. The era of ballot snatching is gone.”
He, however, warned that security agencies would deal ruthlessly with anyone caught attempting to derail the voting process.
Armed soldiers have also stormed Ondo State to ensure peaceful conduct of the poll.
The soldiers, in order to announce their presence in the state, engaged in march past on the Owo – Ilesha Expressway.
The Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Isaac Eke, had at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission said security agencies were ready to ensure a free and fair election in the state.
Sensitive and non-sensitive materials were on Friday distributed to polling officers from all the local government areas by INEC in Rivers State amid tight security by soldiers and the police.
One of our correspondents saw heavily-armed policemen stationed around the INEC’s premises waiting to escort the electoral officers and the materials to their various destinations.
Meanwhile, a total of 25 foreign and local observers have been accredited by INEC to monitor the elections in the state.
Of the lot, about six have reported for clearance as at 10:00am on Friday. Those already cleared include the African Union, European Union, ECOWAS, United Nations Women, All Nigerian Nationals in Diaspora and the International Republican Institute. Head of Election and Party Monitoring of the Commission in the state, Mr. Okoye Charles, confirmed the details in an interview with our correspondent.
The security agencies also assured voters in Gombe State of their safety.
They warned trouble makers to stay clear of the state, insisting that no form of violence would be tolerated on the streets or at any polling station.
The security agencies told journalists that they had reviewed their strategies and would carry out their constitutional duty of protecting lives and property without fear or favour.
Spokesperson for the Inter Consultative Agencies on Election Security, comprising the Army, Police, Directorate of State Security and all para-military and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kudu Nma, said, “We have concluded arrangements to ensure a peaceful and credible election especially in the area of providing security coverage across the state and at all identified flash points and polling units before, during and after the election.
“People are advised to remain patient while on the queue. Provided one has his or her authentic voter’s card, he or she will vote. We have in place adequate security measures to take care of complaint from voters. No person would be allowed to engage in ballot box snatching and other related activities.
Nma, who said enough manpower and equipment had been mobilised for the election duty, warned trouble makers to stay clear, as the full wrath of the law would descend on anyone found wanting.
“There will be restriction of movement on election day. No vehicle or person will be allowed to carry posters, banners or symbol of any political party.”
He said, “I hereby warn thugs and miscreants to stay off the streets or polling stations.”