Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi elections: Police uncover plot to scuttle polls

Ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states, the Inspector General of Police IGP, Kayode Egbetokun said security agencies are aware of negative mobilizations by certain elements to frustrate the conduct of the November 11 polls warning them to stay off or risk serious consequences.

This was as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC urged security agencies to take decisive actions against perpetrators of election violence to serve as a deterrent to others.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu requested on Friday at the meeting of the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security ICCES held at the Office of the National Security Adviser ONSA, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu in Abuja.

Addressing the opening session, Yakubu said the three States of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi are not the easiest in Nigeria to conduct elections.

According to him, the difficult geographical terrain and prevailing insecurity are compounded by negative mobilization by political actors, especially since the commencement of the campaign in public on 14th July 2023.

“Our message to politicians is that they should call their candidates and supporters to order. Violence and other undemocratic activities such as vote buying, attacks on election officials and disruption of the electoral process must stop.

“However, the ultimate responsibility for election security lies with the security agencies. Our message to the security agencies is to take decisive actions against perpetrators of electoral violence.

“This is the surest way to guarantee a safe environment for the peaceful conduct of elections and electoral activities. In doing so, security personnel on electoral duty should remain neutral and committed to the established professional code of conduct and rules of engagement”, said Yakubu.

He said the three States have 5,409,438 registered voters out of which 5,169,692 have collected their Permanent Voter Cards PVCs.

“Eligible voters will vote in all the 10,510 polling units. However, there are two polling units in Bayelsa State and 38 in Imo State without registered voters. The list of these polling units is available on our website. Similarly, election results will be collated in 649 Registration Areas/Wards, 56 Local Government Areas and three State collation centres.

“This gives us a cumulative figure of 11,178 voting and collation locations to deploy security personnel in the three States. This is in addition to ensuring a secure environment for the ongoing campaigns and rallies by political parties and candidates, security of voters, the escort of personnel and materials, protection of assets and general security for all persons with a legitimate reason to participate in the election and electoral activities”.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, IGP Egbetokun said; “We have received all necessary information from INEC which has informed us on where to deploy to during these elections.

“We have carried out a threats assessment and that has informed us with respect to the allocation of our resources and the deployment of our men.

“All the security agencies are collaborating strongly to ensure that these elections are violence-free.

“We are aware of negative mobilizations by some supporters of some candidates and we are already monitoring them. We are ready for them, for these elections. I appeal to them to stay away from this election.

“I also appeal to the electorate to come out en masse to cast their votes during this election. We are committed to a peaceful election and no going back,’’ he said.

Earlier, Mallam Ribadu said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is determined to conduct free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.

“This election will be better than any previous ones. It will be without violence, it will be free and fair and there will be no interferences”, he stated.

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