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OYO: Police Frown At ‘History Of Violence’



A violent scene

THE week before the election was a busy one for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and police authorities in Oyo State.

On Wednesday, the commission took delivery of ballot papers and other election materials brought by officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The materials, loaded on three articulated trucks, were supervised by security agents, including the police and the men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. They were received in ‎the presence of representatives of political parties and other stakeholders.

The materials were led into the premises of the commission by Branch Head Controller, CBN, Ibadan, Mr. Musibau Olatinwo.

The about 20,400 ad-hoc staff recruited by the commission comprising mostly members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for the conduct of the elections had also been trained and deployed to their various duty posts.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) explained that the ad-hoc staff had been screened, trained and recruited as presiding officers and assistant presiding officers in addition to those recruited as supervisory presiding officers, largely from the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

He said: “The ad-hoc staff have been trained before the elections were rescheduled and this had necessitated another round of training.” He added that INEC had recruited and trained Collation Officers and Returning Officers from tertiary institutions in the state and that arrangements were made to ensure that only Professors were recruited, trained and deployed as Returning Officers at all levels.

He assured all stakeholders, especially the political parties and candidates, of INEC’s determination to remain impartial and unbiased in all electoral matters. He told voters that the commission would make every vote count, just as it did in the 2011 elections.

On its part, the police held meetings with the various stakeholders on the need to maintain peace during and after the polls.

The state’s Police Commissioner, Muhammed Katsina, at a meeting with leaders of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) warned the men against criminal activities in the state, saying offenders would face the wrath of the law.

The commissioner who expressed dismay at the history of violence associated with the union said the law would descend decisively on any individual who engages in violence in the state. He noted that as the state’s police boss, he had the capacity, responsibility and wherewithal to contain any agent of destabilisation.

“I am disturbed by the history of violence associated with some of you. Although, since I have assumed office as Commissioner of Police in Oyo State Command, I have never encountered any form of violence that has the potential of threatening the peace and security of the state.

I want to assure you that on my own part, I am determined, more than ever before, to deal decisively with anybody or group that wants to disrupt the peace that we are enjoying in this state, before, during, and after the elections.

“I wish to specifically mention that we have already concluded our deployment of officers and men of this command. There’s a special force deployed from Abuja, including the synergy between me and other sister agencies.

We have commenced and concluded our deployment. I am convinced that all of you are stakeholders in our march towards free, fair and credible elections.”

The CP urged the union to assist the police with information that would be useful in the discharge of its duties.

Candidates of the various political parties also rounded off their campaigns Thursday with each stating reasons why he should be voted.

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