Ahead of the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, Olukayode Egbetokun the Inspector-General of Police, has ordered the distribution and deployment of operational equipment for election security management.
The list includes Anti-riot equipment, water cannons, 220 Armoured Personnel Carriers, helmets, bulletproof vests and tear gas canisters.
Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the force’s public relations officer, who disclosed the development in a statement, said the IG urged stakeholders in the three states to maintain peace during the election.
Adejobi said: “In a bid to have smooth electioneering processes in the forthcoming off-cycle governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States scheduled for 11th November 2023, the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered the distribution of additional 220 operational vehicles, including water cannons and Armoured Personnel Carriers to the three affected states to intensify security arrangements for the elections.’
“Security agents are meant to be neutral and non-partisan, but what you see as partisanship might not be what the police officer sees. Police officers have been told during training not to be partisan. Any officer found culpable of partisanship will not be spared.”
To equip the personnel for election duty, Egbetokun had previously organised training for the officers involved in managing election security and had obtained approval from the Federal Government to pay their allowances and provide other essential support.
Recall that the IGP recently bowed to pressure from the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, the Labour Party, and Civil Society Organisations by redeploying Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde out of the state.
Egbetokun disclosed this Sunday night during a Channels Television programme, “Peoples Town Hall On Election Security,” which was monitored by our correspondent.
He said the police were not unaware of allegations of partisanship against the CP while noting that the move to redeploy him was not that he had been found guilty as alleged.
Egbetokun said: “We are aware that there are allegations against the Commissioner of Police in Imo. Before the elections, we are changing the CP. This is not to say the CP has been found guilty. But for neutrality’s sake, we are changing the Commissioner of Police in Imo State.”