Ahead of the November 6 Anambra polls, the police high command said in Abuja on Thursday that the massive deployment of its security personnel is imperative to safeguard the democratic process and the electorate.
Inspector-General of Police Usman Baba, who spoke in Abuja, while acknowledging that heavy security presence might scare voters from the polls, said the security measures were inevitable to prevent a disruption of the voting by hoodlums.
Persecondnews reports that Baba featured at the ministerial media briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa.
“Mass deployment of security personnel for the November 6 Anambra polls may discourage the turnout of voters but it is a measure that is necessary to checkmate criminals who may want to disrupt the election.
“Most officers that will be assigned to polling stations at the November 6 Anambra polls would be unarmed as they would be involved in checking vote rigging and illegal campaign at venues,” he told newsmen.
The police chief, however, promised that mass enlightenment through radio and TV jingles and talking to stakeholders to assure them of their safety would be done.
Baba said: “This is to ensure that the people come out to exercise their franchise.
“As for the massive deployment, Yes, it has its advantages, and it has its disadvantages.
“That is why knowing the fact that it has disadvantages of may be militarizing the electoral process, we will try to involve the engagement of public enlightenment, the engagement of stakeholders that our presence is to police the situation in two ways.
“It is while we are asking people to come out and vote, another group or other subversive elements are saying don’t come. If you come, we will do this, we will do that.
” So, there must be some level of assurance that we would give to these people to come out and that requires massive deployment of officers and men who would also ensure that the subversive elements do not take over the process.
“While we have other elements that would police the election, we don’t even deploy them with arms.
“Those we are deploying to polling stations to ensure orderliness and checking of electoral malpractices like vote buying, campaigning in the place and so forth. This does not even require carrying of arms.
“But you also need to put officers on standby, on patrol that would check the would-be persons that can carry arms against the state.”
“We are trying to educate and enlighten people that our presence is for the benefit of everybody that our presence is for the benefit of ensuring that they come out and exercise their franchise of voting who they want,”Baba assured.