The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, on Wednesday approved the deployment of 35,000 policemen to Kogi State for the November 16 governorship election in the state.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police (Kogi Command) in-charge of Operations, Oluwakayode Ayilara, who disclosed this in Lokoja, the state capital, said that all measures had been put in place towards the attainment of a free, fair and credible election in Kogi.
He said the deployment of the policemen would ensure “visibility policing ” of lives and property before and during the November 16 governorship poll.
Speaking at an event tagged: “Stakeholders Conflict Scan Analysis on Electoral Violence in Kogi State,” organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Search for Common Ground, Ayilara noted that the choice of ensuring a violence free election was for all to make.
The police chief, who allayed fears about the militarisation of the governorship election, said that the presence of soldiers at polling units was not envisaged during the exercise.
He, however, expressed worries over incidence of violence, particularly in the Kogi East Senatorial District.
He said in addition to the four policemen to be posted to each of the polling units on election day, four personnel per unit from other security agencies would also be on ground, adding that the deployed policemen would arrive in the state on November 11 from Abuja and other states.
Ayilara said that armed policemen would also be positioned at identified strategic areas in the state to ensure quick response to any emergency.
He said that four policemen will be deployed to each of the 2,548 polling units in the state, assuring citizens of police neutrality in their conduct before and during the election.
According to him: “This election is a special one, being that it will hold in two states (Kogi and Bayelsa), and the IG has graciously deployed 36,000 police officers for the Kogi election.
“I can assure you that the police are not only ready for the exercise, the election is not going to be militarised, I can assure you. Soldiers will only be at border points, and can only come in when they are invited.”
“In the last couple of days, reports of culpable homicide have been reported in Dekina. Just yesterday here, two thugs were after each other, and one shot the other, houses were burnt.
“On our part, the police will continue to do its work because that is what we are employed for. But it is important to note that we are all stakeholders in this project.”