By Echeng Echeng
As we are all aware, the people of our dear state – Anambra, will join other Nigerians to cast their votes for candidates of their choices in the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday 25th February, 2023 as well as in the state House of Assembly elections on Saturday 11th March, 2023, in accordance with the electoral timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The need for these epoch-making events to take place in a peaceful and secured environment cannot be overemphasized; hence the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Police Act 2020 and the Electoral Act 2022 mandate the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), as the lead agency in internal security, to ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.
2.Accordingly, the Anambra State Police Command has, in line with the strategic directives of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba Usman, formulated a comprehensive strategy in synergy with INEC, military formations and sister security agencies in the state to provide the enabling security environment for peaceful, credible and transparent elections in the state.
The plan which was conceived and is being implemented under the umbrella of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) was based on a security threat analysis and risk assessment earlier conducted (but constantly updated) by Anambra State Police Command.
It outlines the specific roles of participating agencies and places high premium on effective coordination amongst the service commanders/agency heads.
In accordance with global best practices, our election security plan captures the three main phases in the electoral process viz; the pre-election phase, election-days, and the post-election period.
It is hearth-warming to note that the implementation of the pre-election phase has been largely successful, as electioneering campaigns in the state have been peaceful and devoid of violence.
It is also pertinent to state that the command benefited from the series of election security workshops organized for personnel across all cadres.
3.To operationalize the election-day security plan for the state, the Anambra State Police Command, in synergy with the military and sister security agencies, is poised to do the following on election days:
a. Deploy unarmed law enforcement agents to man the 5,720 poling units across the state.
b. Escort and protect all INEC personnel and ad-hoc staff on election duty.
c. Escort and protect all sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials as may be required by INEC.
d. Provide robust security/confidence building patrols across communities to reassure the citizenry and encourage voters to come out and exercise their franchise freely.
e. Maintain formidable rapid response teams across all the 326 wards to promptly and effectively respond to any distress call.
f. Enforce movement restriction orders.
4.In view of the foregoing, I wish to call on the good people of Anambra State to come out on the forthcoming election-days and exercise their franchise without fear of favour.
Let me at this juncture, strongly advise all political gladiators and their supporters to play the game according to rules, as anyone found wanting, shall be dealt with according to the law.
In the words of the President and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, “Nigerians should vote for whoever they like from whatever party. Nobody will be allowed to mobilize resources and thugs to intimidate people in any constituency.
That is what I want to go down in Nigerian history for as a leader” (Deji O., Buhari: “No Going Back on Proposed Naira Redesign”, Arise.tv, 10th November, 2022).
To members the fourth estate and the civil society, I urge you to be more patriotic, as you discharge your duties. Together, we can make our country proud.
@views exclusive rights: Echeng Echeng, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, being a BRIEF BY THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, ANAMBRA STATE COMMAND, CP ECHENG E. ECHENG ON THE COMMAND’S READINESS FOR THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS, FEBRUARY 23, 2023.