The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has deployed additional 35,000 policemen to Kogi State to ensure “visibility policing ” of lives and property before and during the November 16 governorship election in the state.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operation in the state, Mr. Kayode Ayilara, announced this in Lokoja, the state capital, wednesday.
The police chief disclosed this while responding to concerns raised about the neutrality of the police in the coming election at an event organised by a non-governmental organisation, ‘Search For Common Ground’.
He said that the deployed policemen will arrive the state on November 11, saying that they are coming from Abuja and other states.
Ayilara said that armed policemen will also be positioned at identified strategic areas in the state to ensure quick response to any emergency. He said that four policemen will be deployed to each of the 2,548 polling units in the state, assuring citizens of police neutrality in their conduct before and during the election.
An official of the NGO, Mrs Lola Memedu had earlier in a presentation expressed worry over the steady rise in tension in the state ahead of the election.
Memedu said that the group through its Electoral Empowerment of Civil Society Project (EECSP), had observed cases of violence and physical attacks between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Series of attacks have been recorded during campaign rallies and party activities.
“Dekina and Ankpa Local Governments have recorded the highest number of violence attacks among party members and supporters. “For example, on the 19th of Oct, 2019 a party supporter was shot dead in Anyingba during one of the political party rallies.
“The number of death recorded in Anyingba and Ankpa communities is quite alarming.“There has been a rise in the use of political thugs to perpetrate violence, as this was recorded in Dekina, Ankpa, Olamaboro, Omala, and Idah Local Government Areas,” she said.
According to Memedu, the objective of the report is to identify potential threats to peaceful election at the pre-and post-election stages.
This, she said, will facilitate an early response by stakeholders like the Police, INEC and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) with the intention of intervening to prevent violence.
The group also urged the media to report issues relating to the process, conduct and outcome of the election objectively to douse tension and prevent violence.