By Ikechukwu Okeke
Last weekend, the Nigerian police demonstrated yet another gallantry in ensuring peaceful polls during Anambra state gubernatorial elections.
This success was achieved through the strategies adopted by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim K. Idris, after a broad base Security Threats Assessment carried out in Anambra State by the Nigeria Police Force.
The police boss ensured that all identified flash points, trouble spots and other perceived violence/vulnerable areas in the state were profiled and appropriate pragmatic strategies and tactics were properly implemented.
It would be recalled that shortly before the elections, the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOP) threatened to frustrate the peaceful conduct of the election.
But the IGP had better ideas on how to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.
To begin with, he directed that a robust and elaborate security arrangement be implemented in the State to ensure a very secure environment for the conduct of a Peaceful, Credible and Free and Fair Election.
The IGP quickly deployed the top brass of the police force to stratregise and ensure proper manning of flash points to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
The officers included the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Department of Operations of the Force, Who was the field commander and three (3) Commissioners of Police were in charge of each Senatorial District coordinated the security Operations and supervised the deployment of Security Personnel for the elections throughout the State.
Also to ensure enough men on ground, the Inspector General approved deployment of additional Twenty Six Thousand (26,000) Police Personnel, comprising the Police Special Forces, Police Mobile Force, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), the Force Marine Police, Conventional Policemen, the Force Armament Unit and personnel from Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID).
Others are; Mounted Troops, the attack and Sniffer Dogs Section, Police Gun Boats, Police Helicopters and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to Anambra State and most of these personnel were already on the ground.
Also on ground were; Three (3) Police Aerial/Surveillance Helicopters, Ten (10) Gun Boats, Fifteen (15) Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and Three Hundred and Three (303) Police patrol vehicles haveeen were also deployed for the operations to cover the entire State including the riverine areas and difficult terrains.
Other Security and Safety Agencies who are members of Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the State were also deployed to complement the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force during the election.
Four (4) Policemen are deployed to each Polling Unit along with personnel of other Security and Safety Agencies. No armed security personnel will be allowed within the polling units. Armed Police Detachments on patrol vehicles patroled the streets and other locations throughout the State to prevent crime and intervene to quell any violence that may occur during the election.
As part of additional measures aimed at guaranteeing a secure, peaceful and credible election, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, NPM, mni and the INEC Chairman earlier during the week before the election,attended a Stakeholder/Peace Accord Meeting with all the Political Parties, their Flag Bearers contesting in the election, INEC Officials, Election Observers, other Stakeholders and members of the Public before the date of the election in Awka, Anambra State.
However, the IGP strictly instructed Police Personnel deployed for the elections to be Polite and Civil but Firm in the discharge of their duties and other responsibilities.
“You are to provide adequate security for the electorates, INEC Officials, election materials, election observers and other individuals and bodies that have statutory roles in the conduct of the election, at the Polling booths, Collation Centres and INEC Offices in Anambra State throughout the period of the election”, he said.
Being a man of impeccable record in security , the IGP ordered restriction of Vehicular Movement In and Out of Anambra State through the land and riverine borders with other neighbouring States and within the State from 12 midnight on Friday 17th November, 2017 till after the voting period on the day of the election on 18th November, 2017.to ensure proper control of security situation in the state.
However, only Government Agencies and Personnel on essential duties and services were allowed passage within the period. Security Identification Tag were provided for all the Security and Safety Agencies, INEC Officials, Election Observers/Monitors and others that have statutory duties to carry out in the election.
Also on the order of the IGP, the Commissioners of Police and personnel in the States contiguous to Anambra State were on Red-Alert not to allow influx of Miscreants, thugs and People with questionable characters into Anambra State to disrupt the election.
All these strategies adopted by the new sheriff in town helped the police to ensure peaceful polls in Anambra state.
Reacting to the conducts of his men after the election, IGP expressed utmost satisfaction and commended the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations, the entire Police Personnel, Officers and Men of other Security and Safety Agencies who contributed to the peaceful conduct of the election.\
He extol the high of professionalism, politeness, firmness and unbiased conducts of the Police Personnel, before, during and after the election.
With this success, many at the court of public opinion believe that the current IGP is a symbol of democracy and has demonstrated this since his appointment into office.
It is this kind of policing that many Nigerians always wanted, and with the current conduct of the police in country, many believe that the new era has come.
Okeke, wrote in from Enugu