The Commissioner of Police in Kogi, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, has urged the electorate to cast their votes and stay away from the polling units in the Nov. 21 governorship election.
Ojukwu made the appeal at a workshop organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the refresher training was for NOA chief mobilisation field officers from the 21 local government Areas of the state.
He said there was no reason whatsoever for voters to remain at the polling units after casting their votes.
“We are not closing our eyes to the issues of rising insecurity in the state that is why we want to block every likely avenue for any crisis.
“The police are fully prepared and committed to ensure peaceful conduct of the election and safety of lives and property.
“We have identified hot spots, areas that are prone to election violence, and we are up to the task.
“Our expectations are the expectations of the people of Kogi State which are free, fair, credible and peaceful election,’’ he said.
The commissioner said the duties of the police was to ensure a level playing ground for all political parties and their respective candidates.
Ojukwu warned politicians and their supporters to shun any form of violence that could disrupt the peaceful conduct of the election.
He noted that any crises precipitated by electoral crises in Kogi could impact negatively on nine other states with which it shared border.
“No fewer than 20 states pass through Kogi to get to their various destinations.
“Movement will not be totally restricted because of the motorists that are transiting the state to their destinations,’’ he said.
Mr Mike Omeri, NOA, Director-General, said that the essence of the training was for effective sensitisation and mobilisation of the electorate toward the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Omeri, represented by Mrs Ngozi Ekeoba, Director of Political and Civil Education, urged participants to be proactive in educating and sensitising stakeholders on the need for peaceful election.
“The programme is in line with the agency’s policies to ensure that staff are psychologically sound for election coverage,’’ he said.
Mrs Mintwab Zelelew, the Director of UNDP Democratic Governance for Development (DGD II), said the primary objective of the training was to deepen democracy in Nigeria.
“Our partnership with NOA is to ensure that sensitisation programmes are frequently conducted all over the 774 local government areas in the country.
“This election will be keenly contested, hence adequate measures must be put in place to ensure free, fair and credible election,’’ Zelelew said.
The NOA Director in the state, Mr Ibikunle Medubi, said that the training was to remind the participants on the need to sensitise the politicians and electorate in their localities.
“We should be able to sensitise our people on the need to come out and participate actively and peacefully in the Nov. 21 governorship election,’’ Medubi said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed 6,200 personnel for the poll.
The NSCDC Commandant in the state, Mr Michael Uchogwu, told newsmen on Tuesday in Lokoja that the personnel was to ensure free, fair, credible and peaceful election.
According to him, some of the personnel will be drawn from neighbouring states of Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Enugu, Abuja, and Benue.
“The personnel from these states will be joining the 3,134 personnel in the state to assist in election monitoring to ensure peaceful and successful poll.
“We already have list of the personnel that will be deployed from Ekiti, while we await that of other states,’’ Uchogwu said.
Uchogwu noted that vandals often used this election period to engage in vandalism of national assets, saying the personnel would ensure adequate protection of the assets.
“We are well prepared and committed to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizenry in collaboration with the other security agencies; the Police, DSS, and NOA to ensure violence-free election.
“This synergy is also to reduce tension through adequate sensitisation and educating of the electorate and the politicians,’’ he said.
The commandant urged politicians and their supporters to obey all electoral laws, and avoid any unlawful act that could result to electoral violence.
He said the personnel would be present in all the 21 local government areas, and warned perpetrators to stay away from polling units. (NAN)