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Anambra Poll: Massive security deployment can affect turnout, but necessary – IGP

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AHEAD of the November 6 Anambra State Governorship poll, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba, yesterday, said that the massive deployment of security personnel to the state might discourage voters turnout but the measure was necessary to stop criminals from disrupting the process and causing mayhem.

The police will deploy 34, 587 personnel including two DIGs, five AIGs, 92 other top officers and three helicopters to Anambra for the election.

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The Police boss’s stance came as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, said it had neither made any official statement on the poll nor called for its boycott, contrary to several blackmailing statements against the group.

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Meanwhile, the Voters Rights International, VRI, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to court seeking to postpone the governorship election to February 15, 2022, over insecurity.

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IGP Baba, featuring at the ministerial media briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said to ensure that the electorate come out to exercise their franchise the police had been releasing jingles and talking to stakeholders to assure them of safety.

He explained that most of the officers that would be assigned to polling booths would be unarmed as they would be involved in checking vote rigging and illegal campaign at venues.

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Asked if the mass deployment would not be counterproductive, he said: “As for the massive deployment, yes, it has its advantages, and disadvantages.

“Knowing the fact that it has the disadvantage of maybe militarising the electoral process we try to engage in public enlightenment and enlightenment of stakeholders that our presence is to police the situation in two ways.

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“That 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.

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“That requires massive deployment of officers and men who would also ensure that the subversive elements do not take over the process.”

According to the police boss, personnel would be deployed 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”

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Also, ”there is 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, ensure that electorate come out and exercise their franchise of voting who they want.

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“That is the essence of the jingles we are doing, the essence of going to do community engagements, stakeholders meetings, talking to their religious leaders and so forth.

“It is for the advantage of everybody that the massive deployment should take place.”

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