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Nigeria Drafts Top Police Officers To Tackle Election Violence Amid Separatist Threat In Anambra

Nigerian government ordered police officers to double down their offensive against violent groups ahead of Anambra state election in the Southeast.

The Nigerian government has deployed high-ranking police officers to fend off violence during the Nov. 6, governorship election in Anambra, in Southeast Nigeria, following a sit-at-home threat issued by separatists.

Usman Alkali Baba, the country’s Inspector General of the Police, ordered Joseph Egbunike and Zaki Ahmed, Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs) to effectively supervise security personnel and operations during the election.

Other top police officers deployed include: five Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), 14 Commissioners of Police (CPs), 31 Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) and 48 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs).

According to a statement by Frank Mba, the Police Force Public Relations Officer, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, the senior officers would coordinate human and other operational deployments in the three Senatorial Districts, 21 Local Government Areas and the 5,720 polling units in Anambra State.

The police had earlier deployed over 34,000 personnel to the state.

According to Mba, the police would do everything within its powers to work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all stakeholders to protect democratic values, provide level playing field for all political actors, ensure adequate protection of voters, INEC personnel and equipment, accredited observers and other key players in Anambra State.

Tensions have been building ahead of the election after members of  the proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) issued a one-week sit-at-home order to protest against the detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu and pressure the Nigerian Government to release him. 

Before Kanu’s arrest, arbitrary killings and vandalisation of INEC offices and security posts have been attributed to IPOB. Kanu is standing charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms, and management of an unlawful society.

In the aftermath of Kanu’s arrest, the sit-at-home order has put residents on the edge, those who defied it attacked, with some even being killed, according to HumAngle’s investigation.

On Monday, Oct. 25, Babagana Monguno, the national security adviser (NSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the government would show no mercy to IPOB if they disrupt the election.

“I want to reassure the general public that the security agencies are going to do everything within their power to ensure that the people of Anambra State undergo this exercise without any incident,” Monguno, a retired Major-General, said at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja.

“In the same vein, I want to offer a word of brotherly advice to our brothers and sisters in Anambra State who may want to use means, methods that are unorthodox and that are unusual to destabilise an already delicate situation, to please, think again.” 

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Aishat Babatunde

Aishat Babatunde heads the digital reporting desk. Before joining HumAngle, she worked at Premium Times and Nigerian Tribune. She is a graduate of English from the University of Ibadan.

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