From Bisi Olaniyi, Benin

Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Adeleye Oyebade has warned thugs against disrupting Saturday’s election in Edo State.

Oyebade, who is in charge of the poll, said there would be security of lives and property in the 192 wards across the 18 local governments before, during and after the election.

He noted that besides dehumanising the people and making Nigeria a laughing stock among the comity of nations, violence during elections could also breed fatalities and abruptly cause injuries to the psyche and physical bodies of the victims.

The DIG, who yesterday briefed reporters at the headquarters of Edo Police Command in Benin on the level of preparedness for the poll, assured the residents that the election would be free, fair, safe and credible.

He said: “We want to sound a note of warning to would-be miscreants and other political thugs, who might want to be holding clandestine, diurnal or nocturnal meetings to foment trouble with the motive to disrupt the election and scuttle the democratic process, to desist from such act, as the arm of the law will catch up with them.

“Elections in Nigeria have often been marred by plethora of election malpractices and violence. Violence during elections can exceedingly debase the very essence and foundation of our jealously-guarded renascent democracy. Election marred by violence and other forms of malpractices cannot be said to be free and fair.

“Let me assure the good people of Edo State that the officers deployed for this special assignment will be apolitical, neutral and professional in their constitutional responsibilities. The police officers and their counterparts from sister agencies, who are involved in the election, will be posted to polling booths by name and they will wear tags for easy identification.”

Oyebade said the workers (permanent and ad hoc) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), electoral materials, the electorate, party agents, local and international observers, governorship candidates, reporters and other stakeholders would be protected before, during and after the election.

He noted that the objective of the security collaboration was to provide an enabling environment for a free and fair election that would remain a reference point in election security.

He said previous elections in Nigeria might have had their challenges, adding that it was the resolve of security agencies to improve on the poll and make Edo governorship election freer, better, more inclusive, safer and more credible.

The Nation