The Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, has confirmed that at least 30,000 police officers have been deployed to provide security during the October 10 governorship election in the state.
Salami, who disclosed this to The Guardian, stated that the command is fully prepared in terms of manpower and logistics and that the manpower was enough to cover all the polling units during the election to enable the state have a free-and-fair poll.
“We have about 30, 000 police officers. It could be more because anything can still happen between now and the day of election. We have 5, 000 manpower in the command, we were given 15, 000 and additional 10, 000 making a total of 30, 000 for now.
“The command is fully prepared in terms of manpower and logistics. We have enough manpower, especially with the assistance from Force Headquarters. We are fully prepared in terms of logistics and manpower. INEC on their side have started distributing sensitive materials, which we are going together with them. So we are assisting them to transfer sensitive materials to location and we will continue to do that until the election.”
He warned that violence would not be tolerated in the state and urged the political parties to go about their campaigns peacefully.
“What brought about peace in Edo election is the availability of adequate security and we intend to do it better here in Ondo. I was in Edo throughout the election; I was going out with the DIG throughout. We saw everything. I was asked specifically to go and we saw what went on in Edo. So we have seen it all. We will try our best to see that there is peace during and after the election.
“I have done about three or four meetings with party executives. We meet regularly and we talk to ourselves. We warned them of talking to their followers fuelling violence. We told them that they should tell their followers that this election is coming; it is the number of votes that counts not the numbers of problems that they cause across parties. Whoever is found wanting, will be arrested, investigated and prosecuted.”
He also assured the people of Ondo State that the two local governments in the riverine area known for releasing results late would be well monitored and heavily guarded with adequate security personnel to prevent any form of manipulation.
“Ilaje-Odo is a popular troublesome area. We have discussed with the INEC chairman, the provision is already made for the marine police. The IGP has given us additional marine police from other commands in Bayelsa, Rivers and Edo. We have enough manpower to police Ilaje. We have a naval base in that area also that will come in.
“I discussed with the Brigade Commander here who had promised to bring in additional military men to prevent any breakdown of law and order. We are ready for that area. Like what the police authorities did in Edo State, when it comes to the use of air power, few helicopters were deployed to the three senatorial districts. They were giving us reports and activities in control room. The same thing will happen and Ilaje will not give us any problem. The only problem we use to have is releasing the results late, which we have monitored and fashioned out how the election will start there early so that there won’t be any delay in the results.
“17 political parties including the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party will take part in the election.
“The Inspector-General of Police has mandated every polling unit to be secured by four highly committed and professional police officers. This is to ensure peace and security for every candidate and voters for credible elections in the state.
“Assistance from nearby commands have been put in place, adequate security is assured for voters and officials before, during, and after the election”, he said.
He noted that the command was working with other security agencies in the state to deliver a peaceful election.
“We have a perfect relationship with other security organizations in Ondo. We meet regularly. All the security heads meet every month in the state. There is a perfect synergy between us and we all are working towards providing security. Just like what happened in Edo, all security heads were available in the control room, we are all on the same page.”
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