As reports of mounting insecurity in Ekiti and neighboring States grow with the governorship election only two days away, The Nigeria police today announced the deployment to Ekiti of an Assistant Inspector General and five Commissioners.
There will also be a ban on movement tonight from 6p.m. until the elections are over, while on Saturday, the day of the election, movement will be restricted within the state between 6am and 8pm.
A statement by police spokesman Frank Mba described the personnel deployments as part of measures aimed at “ensuring a proper coordination of security operations and realizing a hitch-free election, devoid of electoral fraud in the forthcoming Ekiti governorship election.”
The deployments, announced by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. MD Abubakar, are led by AIG Bala M Nasarawa.
The statement said Ikechukwu Aduba will function as CP in charge of Ekiti State for the period of the election, while three other CPs will be specifically saddled with the responsibility of supervising security arrangements in the three senatorial districts of the state.
They are: CP Danladi Y. Mshelbwala (Ekiti-North), CP Mohammed Ibrahim (Ekiti-Central) and CP Augustine Eubakhabokum (Ekiti-South). CP Hosea Karma will supervise the operations of the Police Mobile Force and other special Strike Forces.
According to the statement, “The IGP has also placed an order banning movements in and out of Ekiti state with effect from 6pm today, Thursday, 19th June, 2014 till the elections are over. On Saturday 21st June 2014, which is the day of the election, movements will be restricted within the state between 6am to 8pm. Consequently, the states of Kwara, Kogi, Ondo and Osun which are contiguous to Ekiti state will have increased Police presence with all entry and exit points in and out of Ekiti maximally policed. However, persons on essential duties such as Ambulance service providers, INEC officials, on-duty security men, accredited election monitors/observers, accredited journalists, etc are not affected by this order.”
The Force High Command said the restriction order was informed by the exigencies of overriding security considerations.
“Noting that the Force is not ignorant of the citizen’s right to freedom of movement, as enshrined in the constitution, it however reiterates that the order is informed by the need to forestall plans by criminal elements to undermine the electoral process as gathered through intelligence reports.”
While empathizing with the citizenry over the inconveniences the order may cause, the IGP implored them to see the restriction as a necessary sacrifice in the present circumstance geared towards the quest for a seamless, credible and successful gubernatorial election. He appealed to travelers to avail themselves of the use of alternate routes to their various destinations where necessary within the stipulated days.
A key element of the restrictions is a warning prohibiting security details from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election. Only security personnel specially assigned for election duties must be seen within and around the election designated places, the statement said.
Earlier today, it was widely reported that the federal government, in obvious desperation to win Ekiti for the Peoples Democratic Party, was using soldiers to forcibly prevent governors and top officials of the All Progressives Congress from traveling into Ekiti to show their solidarity to Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is contesting the election. Some flights and other travel arrangements into Ekiti were arbitrarily halted. The police statement did not say whether the police will help, or confront those soldiers.