The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris has said the deployment of personnel for the September 22nd Gubernatorial election in Osun State, will not be different from what happened during the recently-concluded election in Ekiti State.
It would be recalled that the IGP had ordered the deployment of 30, 000 policemen for the Ekiti Governorship election which was mostly criticized by members of opposition parties.
The deployment which was unprecedented in the election history of the country was perceived as a tool used by the federal government to intimidate political opponents.
Nevertheless, the police chief has insisted that short of that will happen in Osun State, to guarantee free and credible election .
Idris who made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, at a conference with senior police officers said he will ensure that the forthcoming exercise in Osun State, as well as the 2019 general elections, were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
“Obviously, just like you observed, I’m sure you must have seen the pictures in Ekiti, you know we deployed about thirteen thousand police officers, did you see any militarisation in that picture?
“And, it’s the same thing we are going to do in Osun. And just as we did in Ekiti, we are still deploying some senior officers that will coordinate the operation in Osun State for this election”, the IGP said.
While insisting that deployments during elections were based on requirements, Idris enjoined the public to show commitment to peace, which is an essential ingredient for successful polls.
“This country at this time requires a lot of commitment from everybody, both from the political, traditional, every segment of the society, to ensure that we have peace, so that we can go through this election that we are going to have next year in peace.
“And by the grace of God, we are going to have a peaceful election in Nigeria. Let me also appreciate those that conducted the Ekiti election: it was a successful election.
“Deployments are based in requirements, that’s requirements at the polling units, and some of these facilities that require protection. It was based on that requirement, that we deployment that number. I was in Ekiti myself, and the DIG Operation was in Ekiti.”
On the allegation of militarisation of Ekiti poll, the police chief said: “To be frank, from my own assessment, I didn’t see any over deployment. Deployments are based on requirements…for the protection of lives and properties…of facilities and polling units.
“And like I said, by the grace of God, we are going to have a free and fair election in Osun State.”
In a related development, the Police have denied taking sides in the crisis bedeviling the Benue State House of Assembly where in, personnel were alleged to have provided security cover for eight legislators, who later served an impeachment notice on the Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Answering questions on the imbroglio the Deputy Commissioner of Police, who represented the State’s Commissioner of Police, said the police remained non-partisan.
“Nothing as such; we are firmly on ground, it is the constitutional responsibility of the police to provide security
“With due regards, the 22 legislators that impeached the speaker, how did they sit? Was it not the same House? So, we are not partisan, please.”
Meanwhile, the IGP has lamented the killing of police officers in any part of the country, vowing that such incidents will not be allowed to go unchecked.
Specifically, Idris spoke to the separate killings of policemen in the Federal Capital Territory (FACT), as well as Edo State, in July.
He warned that “The Nigeria Police will not, at the various levels of responsibilities, tolerate any killing of policemen.
“Anybody that attacks a policeman, obviously draws the wrath” of the law.
He accused those responsible for the acts, as enemies of the country.
Stella Enenche, Abuja