By Oki Samson
It is less than 24 hours to Nigeria’s presidential elections, all hands are on deck to ensure that the Nigeria Police takes its lead duty to ensure peaceful, safe, and secure environment for electorates, observers, and the nation at large.
This is the message of DIG Johnson Babatunde Kokumo as he embarked on a tour of duty to the state commands within the Southwest geopolitical zone.
National Association of Online Security News Publishes, NAOSNP can report that he started with the Lagos State Command.
After holding a closed door meeting with the senior officers and commanders across the Lagos State Command, the DIG then addressed a press briefing.
DIG Kokumo expressed: ‘The IGP Usman Alkali Baba has mandated each DIG from each geopolitical zone in Nigeria to go to each of the zones to address the officers, and of course, to remind you of the very extreme importance of the responsibility that you have to the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian nation.
It is expected of us to ensure elections that is peaceful, fair, free of crisis, and transparently credible.’
‘Nigeria Police remains lead agency in maintaining internal security.
You should take a lead role in election duty but we can’t do it alone so we have to synergize with other sister agencies but don’t renege your primary role.
We have to do this when we discharge our responsibility in line with constitutional provision and in tandem with provision of the electoral act and Police act’, NAOSNP gathered.
He told the officers, ‘We are supposed to be apolitical and remain totally apolitical.
Do not unleash terror on members of the public. Do not turn our arms against defenceless members of the public.
Be civil, our force should not be seen as brutal force but as civil force.
You should have robust respect for rights of citizens.
This election is a litmus test for the capacity of the Police to provide security at all times.’
While fielding questions, Kokumo added: ‘On manpower deployment in Lagos, we have over twenty seven thousand personnel deployed for this assignment.
The Inspector-General of Police has made deployment for riverine areas like the Marine Police.
People in coastal communities definitely must vote, election materials must get there, and it is our responsibility that there is no cause for fear.
I am sure that INEC would do all within its capacity to ferry materials, all they will do will be legal and not something that will transgress the law in the issue of NURTW.’
‘On influx of foreigners, that is why borders are closed.
You don’t expect people to start making incursions, particularly criminals, into our state.
This would be prevented, movement will be restricted, and it is part of our strategy to provide adequate security.
On areas prone to crises, we have done our threat analysis and all these areas are known to us.
We are leaving no stone unturned that adequate measures will be in place. We allay your fears.
We will be proactivet. You have equally requested for telephone numbers for the control room, senior officers and commanders, the DPOs, and others, they are in the public space. We are not monopolizing it.
We want the press to assist us in disseminating this. Whatever you tell us will be treated with strict confidence.’
In his remarks, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, CP Idowu Owohunwa expressed confidence in the capacity of his men and officers.
‘I have implicit confidence in the officers and men of the Lagos State Command.
I know not of any Command that retains the tenet of resilience, sacrifice, and diligence in their approach to duty than officers of Lagos State Command.
I assure the DIG Johnson Babatunde Kokumo that we have never failed in tasks of this national nature.
With God’s guidance, officers of this Command will guide the electoral process to the expected peaceful conclusion. We shall make the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State, and Nigeria proud.’
CP Idowu Owohunwa also used the opportunity to reassure peaceful citizens.
‘You would have seen the significant upscaling in the public space in terms of our activities to keep the electoral process secured and you will see more.
The massive deployment of the Police is not to intimidate innocent electorate, so if you see massive deployment of Police it’s not to intimidate them but rather to re-assure them of the capacity of the state of the police leadership to protect them as they go out to exercise their franchise’.
‘And to also send a right warning to those that we often refer as electoral advisories those that are trying to threaten the process to send a clear statement to them that if they try it, the full fang of the law will be brought against them.
They have a choice, today till Saturday it’s their choice to chose the path they want to follow.
They have the path of peace and get our protections, or the path of violent and the law will bring them down’, NAOSNP gathered.