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Police, DSS, Army increase presence at INEC state offices

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SEQUEL to a directive by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, there is increasing presence of security personnel at offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across states of the country. 

In the wake of attacks on INEC offices, Baba had ordered the police commissioners to ensure adequate deployment of personnel, assets, and supervisory officers from other security agencies scheduled for election duties. 

In a joint operation, operatives of the police, army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other security agents continue to be visible in INEC offices both at state and local government levels. 

Nigerian Tribune correspondents observed that security presence at INEC offices ranged from less visible to very visible, though security checks were common on entering many offices of the commission. 

Also, it was observed that there is more security presence at state offices of the commission compared to the local government offices. 

Nigerian Tribune discovered that Resident Electoral Commissioners are resolved to engage not just the regular security agents but also members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES)in their respective states. 

 

Zamfara 

In Zamfara State, appreciable number of security personnel was seen at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Gusau. While the state headquarters can boast of appreciable security presence, the story is different in the local government offices of the commission with less visible security personnel whether surveillance or stationed.

At some local government offices of INEC visited, less than two policemen were sighted whereas at the state office, men of the police, civil defence and the department for state services were seen on standby day and night. 

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Saidu Babura Ahmed said the deployment of more security personnel to protect and monitor INEC offices is an indication that security agencies were ready to ensure peaceful 2023 general elections. 

 

Delta 

Officials of the INEC in Delta state boast of having adequate security arrangements to ensure a hitch-free election. Head of voters’ education and publicity, Mr Bukola Ojeme said a team of army and police personnel have been stationed at the INEC headquarters in Asabawhile men of the Department of State Services are also on surveillance. 

According to him, the offices of the commission in the 25 local government headquarters are also being manned by the police and DSS. He said virtually all the INEC offices are located close to divisional police headquarters. 

 

Akwa Ibom 

It is also a joint operation in Akwa Ibom State with members of the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), police, Army, Civil Defence, Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Officers (NDLEA) and other security agents all visible at INEC offices across the state. Also stationed at the entrance and around the Udo Udoma Avenue headquarters of the commission were surveillance vehicles belonging to the Nigeria Police Quick Response Squad, anti-kidnapping squad. 

 

Kebbi 

There was huge presence of security personnel at the state office of INEC in Gwandagarji area of Birnin-Kebbi, the state capital. Specifically, heavily armed policemen, civil defence officers and DSS men were strategically positioned at the state headquarters. Just like at the state office, armed policemen, DSS and Civil Defence officers, members of vigilante group also kept vigil at the Birnin-Kebbi local government office of the commission. 

 

Imo 

Sequel to Monday’s attack on INEC buildings and official vehicles in Imo, there is in- creased security presence at INEC offices in Imo State. Public Relations Officer of the commission, Dr Chinenye Osujialso affirmed the increased security presence noting that there were security personnel in uniform and those in mufti. Meanwhile, renovation work has commenced on the burnt INEC building. 

 

Kano 

SECURITY operatives, especially the Nigeria Police, both in uniform and plain clothes were seen at the entrance leading to the premises of Kano State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) located along Hajj camp. 

Those visiting the INEC state office were not only asked to identify themselves, but also asked to state the visitors they wanted to see before they are allowed entry. 

Public Relations Officer of the commission, Alhaji Maloud Ahmed, expressed gladness at the number of security operatives within and around the premises of the INEC. 

 

Osun 

Nigerian Tribune observed that security at both the state headquarters of the commission and scores of other auxiliary offices in the state had been beefed up. 

At the state headquarters, a police officer attached to the commission said: “We are on 24-hours surveillance and there is no cause for alarm as far as security within and outside the commission is concerned.” 

At the entrance of the state headquarters, people coming in had to subject themselves to security checks before they are allowed in. 

While speaking, the state resident electoral Commissioner, Dr Mutiu Olaleke assured that necessary arrangement had been put in place to ensure the commission’s offices are secure across the state

 

Plateau 

More men of the police, NSCDC have been drafted to offices of the INEC, to conduct check on those going in and out of the premises. It was observed that some strategic areas within the premises, classified as restricted areas, are being manned by security men. 

A staff member of the Commission in Jos who did not want his name in print told the Nigerian Tribune that other offices of the Commission across the 17 local government areas of the state are equally being manned by the police to ward off any those who might want to attack the facilities. 

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, the Head of Voters’ Education in Plateau State, Mr Egwurube Micheal Otokpa, said the commission had taken necessary proactive steps to an unforeseen situation. 

 

Sokoto 

Nigerian Tribune saw increased presence of security personnel, both uniformed and plain, both in and out the premises of INEC offices in Sokoto. The head of Voters Education in the state, Muhammad Abbani Takai, said the new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Nura Ali, upon resumption of office in the state held emergency meeting with head of security agencies on how to have more security personnel at INEC offices. 

 

Ekiti 

No fewer than 10 policemen were seen stationed at the entrance of the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ekiti, when Nigerian Tribune visited on Wednesday. 

While some personnel sat inside their vehicle parked in front of the INEC office, others were mobile monitoring movements around the area. Nigerian Tribune’s journalist was grilled for few minutes be- fore he could gain entrance to the commission’s office. Speaking, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Professor Ayobami Salami expressed appreciation to the combined team of the security forces for the surveillance over the commission’s office in the state

 

Delta 

A visit to the INEC state headquarters at Esisi Road, Warri, in Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State, showed policemen monitoring both inside and outside the commission’s headquarters with their patrol vans also visible. Besides police presence at the INEC headquarters, Warri Area Command Police barracks and the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), Delta, are just a stone throw from the INEC office. When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bright Edafe, said all INEC offices and facilities across the state are under regular sur- veillance by operatives of the command. 

 

Edo 

Security presence is not so visible at offices of INEC in parts of Benin, the Edo State capital, visited by the Nigerian Tribune. 

In several local government offices of INEC in Benin, there was virtually no security presence apart from the state headquarters in Aduwawa where some mobile policemen were sighted. At INEC office in Oredo Local Government Area, Ekehuan Road, the only security presence was that of some policemen doing stop and search about 300 metres away. 

 

Ondo 

Security operatives were seen around and inside the headquarters of INEC in Akure, the Ondo state capital, while some plain-clothed security agents were sighted at the Akure South local government office of the commission. According to the public relations officer of the commission in the state, Mrs Dolapo Alo, the commission was banking on its synergy with security agencies to prevent attacks on its facilities. Specifically, she said security agents of the DSS, army, police, civil defence, federal fire service had been deployed to the offices of the commission. 

 

Oyo 

There is some presence of policemen at the entrance to the state headquarters of INEC in Oyo State, when visited on Wednesday, with plans, according to the REC, Dr Adeniran Tella, to have a combination of security agents guarding INEC offices, in days to come. Tella said the result of con- sultative meetings held with the leadership of the police, NSCDC, DSS, Army, in past days, is set to show, having extracted assurances of the security agencies of deployment of more of its men at the state and local government levels. 

 

Rivers 

Little indicates involvement of regular security agents in beefing up security at the state office of INEC in Rivers State, as even the usual security arrangements before now, are not visible. Even the Armoured Personnel Carrier, security vehicles that were usually seen at entrance to the state headquarters were not sighted when Nigerian Tribune visited on Wednesday. Notwithstanding the less visible presence of the regular security agencies, staff engaged by INEC for security purposes carried out security checks at the entrance to the commission. Visitors were required to call the staff they wished to see before they were allowed to go beyond the cordoned point.

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