Protests sudden withdrawal of his security detail IG removes Anambra CP ahead of election Governor’s security aides will be returned after election, says police boss
David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has raised the alarm over the sudden withdrawal of his security details, saying such action has exposed his life to danger.
Obiano who stated this yesterday in Awka during an election stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and presided over by the chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, described the act as unacceptable and a dangerous signal on what was to happen ahead of the governorship election.
He demanded the immediate restoration of his security details in order not to constitute further threats capable of overheating the polity.
“I want my security details returned immediately because I am going to start a fight from there. I am the governor of Anambra state and all the paraphernalia of my office must be there.
“This is unacceptable and a sign of what will happen. Those behind this would be disappointed because we are very ready for the election,” he insisted.
Apparently, to douse the tension, the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris, justified the withdrawal of the security aides attached to Obiano adding that it was to prevent the re-occurrence of past elections. He however gave the assurance that the security aides will be restored on Sunday after the governorship poll in the state.
According to the governor, he had wanted to speak with the Inspector General of police who was scheduled to be at the occasion, but said he had to voice it out at the event since he was not at the event yet.
A former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, condemned the development, saying that such action gives credence to allegations that the All Progressives Congress-led federal government was planning to rig the election.
He also called for answers to fresh allegations that six local governments have been pencilled down to be used for rigging the election, with the deployment of National Youth Service Corp members from Enugu State, who were not part of those trained by the. Commission to man the local governments.
But reacting, the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the event was a stakeholders’ meeting, and as such, no candidate would be accorded any special treatment regardless of his position.
He said the commission insists on equal treatment for all candidates in the election and should not only have equal standing but must be respected.
On the deployment of corps members from Enugu, the INEC chairman said the deployment became necessary following the inadequacy of corps members serving in the state.
He, however, insisted that the corp members were trained in Enugu to save the cost of moving them down to Anambra for training, especially as NYSC had insisted that its members must be delivered back to them safely after the election.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris who later joined the meeting announced the removal of the Anambra state police commissioner, Mr Garba Umar, saying that the move was to ensure fairness in the election as he will be replaced with three police commissioners who will each man the three senatorial zones in the state to ensure effective supervision.
“Most of the men we are bringing here do not know anyone here, so that they will not be accused of bias. We will have a very successful election here, and I thank Anambra people for their conduct so far. We will give you security until after the election.”
In reacting to threat posed to the life of the governor by the withdrawal of his security, the IG said it was only the aide de camp (ADC) to the governor that was withdrawn, and that it has been the norm in the conduct of elections.
He, however, promised that the governor’s full security detail would be restored on Sunday, after the election, saying that the move was to ensure transparency.
Obiano had during the forum raised the alarm that he woke up on Tuesday morning to find that his ADC had been directed by the police high command to vacate him.
He said the directive had put his life in danger, describing the act as an unacceptable and unfair treatment to his person and office.
The governor noted that his standing for re-election did not remove the fact that he was the chief security officer of the state.
But the IGP said the withdrawal was based on the previous experience whereby the military caught an ADC to an unnamed governor escorting a vehicle loaded with arms on election “We do not mean anything bad to Anambra governor with this action; his ADC will be returned to him early Sunday morning after the governorship election on Saturday Nov.18.
“We have equally withdrawn all the policemen attached to political appointees, Local Government Chairmen and others in Anambra till after the election,” he said.
Idris also said the police force had deployed 26, 000 personnel, 300 vehicles, three helicopters and 15 gunboats for the poll.