The Police in Edo State have barred local security groups from monitoring Saturday’s election in the state.
The development followed allegations by the governorship candidates in the state that the parties were recruiting thugs under the guise that they were security groups.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, who gave the order, while speaking with journalists, said the move was to douse tension arising from the allegations raised by the political parties.
Governorship candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Charles Airhiavbere, had frowned on the alleged visit to the state by a popular ex-militant from Rivers State as well as the alleged constitution of neighbourhood watch by a major political party in the state.
The PDP candidate also alleged that the ex-militant had trained political thugs to intimidate and molest voters, especially those in the Edo Central Senatorial district.
He alleged that men of the neighbourhood watch were being paid N60, 000 monthly salary and had been positioned in all neighbouring borders in the state.
He, however, urged the authorities of the Nigeria Police and the military to nip in the bud, the likely unwholesome activities of the groups.
While foreclosing the use of local security during the election, the IG said the groups, though useful in certain conditions, would not be needed during the election.
He said, “Neighbourhood watch and vigilance groups though recognised generally, but are not recognised to oversee the monitoring of election. For the election, they are like other citizens whose duty is to cast their vote for their preferred candidate.”
Abubakar noted that it would be difficult for some people to sew security uniforms with the sensitive features embedded in the Nigeria Police.
He added that security intelligence personnel were already in the state to gather information regarding the allegation.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole had on Wednesday accused the major opposition party of sewing army uniform, procuring fake INEC Identity cards and voter cards for the election on Saturday.