The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba, on Thursday explained the massive deployment of police and other security agencies to Anambra as a necessary measure to make the electorate feel safe to cast their votes.
He stated this on Thursday while featuring at the ministerial media briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said such massive deployment was necessary in view of threats from certain elements trying to coerce voters not to turn out to exercise their franchise.
He explained that most of the officers that would be assigned to polling stations in the November 6 governorship elections would be unarmed as they would be involved in checking vote-rigging and illegal campaign at venues.
However, in justifying the deployment, he said, “As for the massive deployment, yes, it has its advantage, and it has its disadvantage, and that is why knowing the fact that it has disadvantage of may be militarizing the electoral process, we try to involve the engagement of public enlightenment, the engagement of stakeholders that our presence is to police the situation in two ways.
“It 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’ll do this, we’ll do that.’
“So, there must be some level of assurance that we would give to these people to come out and that requires massive deployment of officers and men who would also ensure that the subversive elements do not take over the process.”
He added that, “While we have other elements that would police the election, we don’t even deploy them with arms.
“Those we are deploying to polling stations to ensure orderliness and checking of electoral malpractices, like vote buying, campaigning in the place and so forth, does not even require carrying of arms,” he added.
He pointed out that there is the “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, that our presence is for the benefit of ensuring that they come out and exercise their franchise of voting who they want.
“And 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.
“I think it has its advantage; it has its disadvantage, but we try to as much as possible ensure that it is for the advantage of everybody that the massive deployment should take place,” he said.