Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, has said the security agency was aware of the threat by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to instigate a boycott of the forthcoming governorship election in the Anambra State.
Idris, who said the Force had taken note of the threat, gave the assurance that the Police were ready to provide adequate security cover for the election in the state scheduled for November 18. He vowed that the security agency would do everything necessary to ensure the exercise is conducted smoothly.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, had warned that elections would be boycotted in the South-east states starting with the November 18 election in Anambra, if the federal government fails to hold referendum for the realisation of the State of Biafra.
In a speech in a video clip, Kanu said, â€œIf the federal government does not agree with us on a date for referendum, there will be no elections in the South-east, we are starting with Anambra come November this year. There will be no governorship election in Anambra State.â€
However, in his reaction, the Inspector General of Police said: â€œOf course, from the security point of view we have taken note of the threat from the agitators, we have taken note of all other threats, but I can assure you that in those elections we are going to provide very strict security. I can assure you that in all future elections, you are going to have the best of security you can think of, that is the assurance I can give.â€
Idris noted that he was recently in Anambra and Imo states and was highly impressed with the way the two governors were handling the issue of threats posed by the herdsmen marauders.
He said he was particularly impressed by the measures taken by Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, in which he adopted a community policing approach, using local leaders to solving the herdsmen/farmers conflict in the state.
â€œI was in Anambra and Imo states, those governments were addressing this herdsmen security issue adequately. You can see that we have never had the herdsmen threat. Previously it was there but now everything has been neutralised,â€ he said.
The Inspector General also said a lot of success has been recorded in addressing issues of election malpractices and violence during elections in the country.
Compared with previous elections conducted before his assumption of office, the IGP said all the elections conducted in the past one have recorded a marked improvement both in the level of peaceful atmosphere and adherence to electoral rules.
â€œWe have conducted elections last year in Edo, Ondo, Rivers, Imo, Kano and Kogi states and I think those elections by and large are free and fair compared to previous elections, apart from Rivers state where three of our officers were slaughtered. From the police side, I think we are making progress in addressing most of the abuse of process during elections,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would further extend the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise to ward levels in Anambra for one week, beginning from July 10 and ending on July 16.
Speaking to THISDAY in an interview shortly after making a presentation at parley organised by the Civil Society Situation in Abuja last Friday, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission had made significant progress in its preparation for the 2019 general elections, adding that work on budgetary estimates would soon be completed.
â€œNext year, as part of the Election Project Plan, we hope to make deployment for CVR one week per quarter at the ward level. So, this is the first time a continuous voter registration will be taking place in the actual sense of it,â€ he added.