• Governor alleges threat to life
Anambra Police Commissioner Umar Abubakar has been redeployed, less than a week to its governorship election.Also reshuffled were the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of operations, DCP in charge of administration, ACP in charge of administration, state officer in charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and aides to Governor Willie Obiano.
Three Commissioners have consequently been deployed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris. Obiano has, however, cried foul over the sudden withdrawal of the security officers, saying the move exposed his life to danger.
“I will start the fight from here. I am the governor. All paraphernalia of office should not be withdrawn. It is not acceptable,” said Obiano, during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Awka yesterday.
He described the redeployment as a dangerous signal capable of overheating the polity and demanded the immediate return of the personnel, warning that the actors behind the rejig would be disappointed.Police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Jimoh Moshood, confirmed the removal of Abubakar and other top officials, describing it as “routine in the police”.
He said: “The Commissioners of Police in charge of commands are asked to step aside in any governorship election. Another CP would be posted. He would return to his office immediately after the election. Three Commissioners of Police would be deployed to monitor the three senatorial zones in the state.
“It would not be right to disclose the names of the three Commissioners of Police now. But you would know later.”Reacting to Obiano’s disapproval, Idris who later arrived at the meeting, explained that the police only withdrew his aide-de-camp, promising that the officer would return to his post after the election.
He disclosed that given past experiences, police details attached to politicians would now be withdrawn during elections to stem unwholesome activities.“These police officers were engaged in activities other than what they were deployed to do. We will not encourage further acts of misdeed,” he said.
The IGP spoke further: “The police command deployed 603 patrol vehicles; three helicopters for monitoring in each of the three senatorial zones, for movement of INEC officials and other personnel; armoured personnel carriers; and 15 gunboats to take care of the waterways. The Nigerian Navy has donated additional two boats for adequate supervision by our men during the election.
“We have deployed three commissioners of police to be in charge of operations. In each senatorial district we have a director of operations. If there are issues, call the attention of these officers. All the officers posted to Anambra State are new to the environment.
“The idea is to ensure that police participated in this election. The police will conduct stop and search operations, conduct raids at black spots etc., to ensure that hoodlums do not cause havoc during the process.”
Idris added that the operation commanders would also swop places with DPOs to ensure that no officer was accused of misdemeanor. He insisted that all top police officers in Anambra would be replaced temporarily.
He urged the people of the state not to be intimidated by the large number of policemen deployed, saying the action was intended to protect lives and property.
Meanwhile, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has stressed that the commission would give equal treatment to all candidates in the election.He denied rumours that sensitive electoral materials were not in safe custody. “The materials are on their way to Anambra. They will be distributed accordingly. The materials are secure,” he said.
Yakubu, who reiterated that the election would not be postponed, called on Anambra citizens to come out en mass and vote for their preferred candidates.
“November 18, 2017 is sacrosanct. INEC had done all that is expected of it to do, to insure the conduct of a hitch-free election in Anambra State,” he added.