No going back on poll –FG

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… We’re ready, say police

From Magnus Eze, Abuja and Chukwudi Nweje

The Federal Government has urged voters to disregard threats by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and turn out to exercise their franchise at Saturday’s governorship polls.

Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, said this in the wake of the  “vote and die” threat issued by IPOB and reassured Anambrarians that security agencies are fully prepared and on ground to ensure safety of voters before, during and after the election.

Abari described the renewed threat by the group as an attempt to stampede the will of the people, using baseless intimidation but was emphatic that the election will not only hold as scheduled but will be without security failure.

“The renewed threat by IPOB is not taking the authorities by surprise. All adequate measures to checkmate their excesses and those and other unlawful groups with regards to the election are already in place. The security agencies are prepared to forestall any breakdown of law and order and to protect voters, other election actors and the general public toward a hitch-free election.

“Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is very prepared to conduct the election. Let no one be afraid or in doubt; the election will hold on November 18, and will be free and credible. Voters are therefore implored to turn out en masse, without fear of intimidation, and freely cast their votes”.

In a related development, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Mr. Joshak Habila, has dismissed IPOB’s threat. He said a group that has been declared a terrorist organisation by the federal government lacks the capacity to disrupt any poll.

Habila said this on a television programme and assured that adequate preparations are in place to ensure hitch-free polls.

“There is a joint operation telephone line where we have all the security personnel seated, including the military, taking calls and directing them. We also have the Commissioners of Police in the zone, who will organise and ensure  robust method of communication and feedback. We have brought in patrol vehicles and stationed them at short distances for distress calls. Remember that police officers at the polling booths are not armed; nobody armed will get close to the polling booths,” he said.

Asked why protesting IPOB members, who issued the vote-and-die threats were not arrested by the police, Habila said the Force had no reason to arrest them since they were merely exercising their freedom of speech.

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