- 126,000 policemen for Ekiti gov election – INEC
Abuja – The U.S Mission to Nigeria on Thursday said it would monitor the Ekiti governorship election on Saturday with no fewer than 30 accredited election observers.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, made this known in a video message released by the embassy 48-hours to the poll to elect the next governor of Ekiti.
The ambassador’s message said a well-conducted election free of violence would demonstrate the credibility of the electoral system in the run-up to the general elections in February 2015.
Entwistle called on INEC to ensure that registered Ekiti voters would be able to cast their ballots without hindrance.
He also urged the security services to provide security in an impartial and judicious manner, and appealed to candidates and parties to play by the rules at every step of the process.
He urged voters in Ekiti to go to the polls, while expressing the hope that all electoral stakeholders would meet the high standards expected by the Nigerian people.
Similarly, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said 120,000 security operatives have been deployed in Ekiti State for the governorship election holding on Saturday.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, the Head, Publicity Division, INEC Headquarters, Mr. Nick Dazang said INEC had customised all the ballot boxes and result sheets according to polling units “such that you cannot carry any from one polling unit to the other.”
He said, “We’re deploying more than 8,000 staff, permanent and adhoc, to conduct the election. We are also deploying six national commissioners. We are also deploying another six RECs.
“At least, two policemen will secure each polling unit. The Police will, at least, deploy 126,000 policemen. Their role is to make sure that they patrol and secure the environment.
“There will also be helicopter units reinforcing the patrol on the ground in the air. Even as people go to vote, their properties are secured; nobody is harrassed or molested.”
Dazang noted that the massive deployment of security agents was not to harrass the electorate but to secure the process.
He, however, added that the security operatives to be deployed had been instructed to “be firm in their job but be polite to the citizens.”
The INEC publicist said the staff undergone an additional day of training because of the peculiar nature of the Ekiti election.
“In the instance of Ekiti; before we used to do two days, this time we have added another day, making it three days, so that it would enhance their capacity and proficiency,” Dazang added.