By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Ahead of Saturday’s elections, the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has said that more security personnel have been deployed to the state to beef up security in order to ensure effective security coverage during the exercise.
To this end, over 250 mobile policemen, three commissioners of police and one Assistant Inspector General of Police will join the already personnel, including military and paramilitary forces on ground in the state.
The state’s commissioner of police, CP Ibrahim Sani Kaoje who disclosed this yesterday at the command headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo, said the increase in the number of security personnel in the state is not meant to intimidate electorate but for effective protection of voters and electoral materials against any electoral fraud.
CP Kaoje reiterated the commitment of the police to remain apolitical, neutral to ensure free, fair and peaceful 2019 general elections, adding that the command has a zero tolerance for violence and would not accommodate any form of thuggery.
For politicians, CP Kaoje, urged all of them not to overheat the polity by their actions or utterances and to call their party supporters to order during and after the elections.
The Commissioner who was represented by the command police relations officer, DSP Odoko MacDon also advised the electorate to go out and cast their votes without fear of any form or molestation and intimidation as the command will leave no stone unturned in providing “water-tight security.”
He also confirmed the arrest of 153 persons suspected to be APC thugs who travelled to the state from Edo state led by one Jerry Egbom with the purpose of causing havoc during the March 9, gubernatorial/state houses of assembly election.
According to CP, they were arrested on March 5, 2019 at about 5.30pm by Inspector General Police Special Tactical Squad in Uyo while on intensive patrol, along Ikot Ekpene local government area of the state.
“However, preliminary investigation into the matter by the State Criminal Investigation Department reveals that the suspects were APC youth from Edo extraction, who were on their way to the State to attend the final APC youth rally scheduled to hold on 7th March, 2019. Investigation further revealed that an-the-spot search was conducted in all the suspects and nothing incriminating was found on any of them after the arrest”, he said.
He also added that the command has not foreclosed investigation into the matter to determine any likely culpability in accordance with the rule of law>
Meanwhile, the state government has declared today, a public holiday to enable public servants travel to their respective local government areas to participate in the elections.
A release issued by the commissioner for information and strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh advised all electorate to go out to their respective polling units to cast their votes in an orderly and peaceful manner without fear of intimidation to ensure a peaceful atmosphere in the state during and after the exercise.