The Nigeria Police Force has marked the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) as arch potential threats to the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 6.
This was disclosed in a 25-page document with the policy number CJ: 3910/FDPS/DOP/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.4/285 sent to all police formations in the country ahead of the upcoming election and obtained by the Foundation for Investigative Journalism.
The order dated October 15 came directly from the department of operations in the office of Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police.
IPOB and ESN top a list of 14 potential threats to the election.
Specifically, the force authorities stated that the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU), Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Special Tactical Squad (STS) would be deployed to identify IPOB/ESN training camps and hideouts as well as those of bandits.
The police also accused IPOB/ESN of engaging in “clandestine and criminal activities culminating in numerous deaths and destruction of properties."
Although the police mentioned that the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, has reduced the spate of insecurity in the area, they stood on deploying “maximum human and material assets” to confront dangers to the election.
“Even though this has been brought down to a minimum level through concerted and intensive Police/Joint Security Operation, coupled with the recent arrest of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, there is need to ensure maximum deployment of human and material assets of the police to avert any untoward action or threat that may scuttle or negatively affect the election process,” the police noted.
The Nigeria police would be drawing more personnel from different state commands and formations to join forces with over 4,000 police officers in Anambra State, it was further learnt.
Emma Powerful, IPOB’s spokesman also released a press statement on October 23, threatening a one-week sit-at-home in the entire South-East region, including Anambra, if Kanu was not released by November 4.
According to the police document, another part of the police’s 24 rules of engagement for the election is the use of firearms in accordance with Force Order 237 which regulates the police rules of engagement.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Adamu, the immediate former IGP, revised Force Order 237 on October 23, 2019, to ensure the protection of citizens’ fundamental human rights.
In the revised document, the police are expected to adopt the use of the Taser and stun guns in place of conventional live bullets for low-risk operations.
The operation order for Anambra didn’t explicitly state if the officers are to engage under the revised rule.