Observer raises concerns over deployment of 30, 000 police personnel
An election observer, Election Monitor (EM), has raised concerns over the deployment of 30, 000 police personnel ahead of Ekiti governorship election.
National Coordinator of the group, Abidoun Ajijola disclosed this in Abuja, at the public presentation of two election documents, tagged: “2018 Ekiti State Governorship Election Observation and Research Guide.”
He described Ekiti poll as the most heavily policed in the history of Nigeria noting that the deployment was very unprecedented in any governorship election in the recent past.
He stressed that when 18, 000 officers were deployed in Ekiti in the 2014 Ekiti election, stakeholders complained that it was over-militarised.
Ajijola explained that the implication is that there would be an average of one policeman to every 30 voters in the state.
In addition there would be an average of 13 to 14 police officers per polling unit.
He also raised concerns over the welfare of the Nigerian Police, saying there have been cases of delayed payment of allowances and logistics meant for police personnel deployed for elections.
Under the circumstance, he said, unscrupulous politicians who often use them to commit election manipulations would expose them to temptations.
He said: “While there have been some election violence-related issues, the security agencies must be cautious not to aggravate the situation.
“The key issue is not only about the number of security personnel, but also the impartiality and professional conduct of the officers while on electoral duty.”
He urged the police leadership to ensure that the welfare and allowances of its officers in Ekiti are taken into full consideration.
He also explained that the guide documents, which are Governorship Election Update and SWOT Analysis of Candidates, was part of EM’s mission and mandate to promote transparent electoral processes in Africa.
The coordinator disclosed that EM prepared the documents to provide readers with some quality information that enable them to have a better understanding in the Ekiti poll.
He added that it would support the efforts of information sharing and strengthen the quality of observation of the Nigerian electoral process.
Ajijola added that EM’s publication was unbiased and not prepared in favour of any candidate, or party, adding that it borne the cost of preparing the document.