Lagos – Security has been beefed up around the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) headquarters in Yaba ahead of Saturday’s council polls in the state.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who was at the office on Friday reports that scores of security personnel were stationed around the office.
At the junction of Birrel Road, which leads to the office, heavily armed men of the force stood by an Armoured Personnel Carrier that was stationed there.
No fewer than 12 heavily armed policemen were also seen beside a patrol van with the inscription, “Anti-Terrorism Squad” by the entrance of the LASIEC office,
Some security personnel were seen preventing people who had no business in the office from entering into the premises, while several other policemen were within the premises.
The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Fatai Owoseni, who also visited the LASIEC office on Friday, told newsmen that the police had put in place all measures to guarantee a hitch free election.
“Let me warn any person or groups who might want to cause trouble or violence during the polls to have a change of mind.
“This is because the force will deal ruthlessly with anybody or group caught engaging in, or sponsoring violence during the election.
“Whoever tests our will or attempts to do so, will surely have the full weight of the law
brought on them.
“Anybody who impedes our officers from carrying out their duties would be dealt. We will not allow any acts of lawlessness,” he said.
Owoseni warned politicians against inciting people to violence and also appealed to parents to counsel against trouble during the poll.
He also restated that there was no provision in the Electoral Act for VIPs or any other unauthorised persons to move about on monitoring during the time of election.
The police commissioner also warned police officers attached to VIPs against exhibiting overzealous acts during the election.
He said the force would not be kind to any officer found conducting himself in manner that could undermine the peaceful conduct of the election.
The commissioner said a security appraisal of all the areas of the state, especially flashpoints, had been carried out for effective security.
The police commissioner said no fewer than 30,000 officers, apart from hundreds of personnel from sister agencies, would be deployed for the election.
He said the Marine units of the force had been reinforced to provide security on the waterways during the election.
Owoseni however said there would be a few inconveniences hours before the election and urged residents to show understanding.
“Yes, there will be a few inconveniences in some areas from 9pm today, like stop and search, checkpoints and all of that.
“I want residents to show understanding and comply with what is required of them, all is for the success of the poll,” he said.
The commissioner urged residents to dial 08063299264 and 08033040870 to report cases of violence during the election for prompt intervention of the force.
He described the media as central to the success of the election and appealed to journalists not to write reports that would incite people to violence.
NAN reports that the Chairman of the commission, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (Retired) had urged residents to conduct themselves peacefully during the election.
She said LASIEC had enlisted the support of security agencies to ensure the polls were violence free.
Lagos residents will, at the polls on Saturday, elect chairmen and councillors in the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the state.(NAN)
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