The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has raised the alarm over the ongoing arming and movement of thugs by politicians in preparation for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
The polls are scheduled to hold on September 19 and October 10, 2020, respectively.
The IG stated that the Election Security Threat Assessment Reports submitted by the Commissioners of Police from both states in a meeting held on August 25 also revealed the use of inciting statements during political campaigns.
He said the report also identified a high likelihood of violence and possible cross-attack by political opponents as well as misinformation and disinformation “aimed at heating-up the polity and deliberate efforts at delegitimising government institutions involved in the electoral processes.”
“The Election Security Threat Analysis reveals amongst other indicators: arming and movement of political thugs, use of inciting statements during political campaigns, high likelihood of violence and possible cross attack by political opponents, misinformation/disinformation aimed at heating-up of the polity and deliberate efforts at delegitimizing government institutions involved in the electoral processes,” he said.
The IG, therefore, warned politicians and their supporters to conduct themselves properly, play by the rules, and steer clear of tendencies capable of undermining the electoral process in the two states.
This was contained in a statement in Abuja on Sunday by the Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, titled, ‘Conduct yourselves and play by the rules: IGP warns Edo and Ondo politicians.’
Following this development, the IG ordered the commissioners of police in the two states to rejig their preparations for the elections and address the threats and emerging trends as contained in the security report.
He disclosed that the force leadership was evolving “customised security architecture” to protect the people and ensure hitch-free elections.
“The IGP, however, warns the politicians and their supporters in Edo and Ondo that the Force would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on anyone or group, irrespective of status, that may want to sabotage the security arrangement being emplaced for the elections,” the statement further said.
Adamu assured Nigerians, particularly the people of Edo and Ondo States that the Force remained committed to protecting the sanctity of the ballot in the country.
He reiterated that the police would be neutral, apolitical, and “will work assiduously with all stakeholders in ensuring a level playing ground for all in the elections.”
Recall that the Amnesty International had earlier cautioned about the inciting statements emanating from.the two states and the risk of violence and bloodshed during the polls.