2023 elections: We are well equipped to secure Bauchi/Gombe – Police AIG
Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe
The New Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG in charge of Zone 12, comprising Bauchi and Gombe States, Mr. Olawale Taoheed Olokode, has given assurances to the people of the zone that the police is well equipped to provide the needed security for the 2023 General Election.
Mr. Olokode said this in Gombe, when he undertook a familiarisation visit to the state Police Command.
He said the Inspector General of Police, IG Usman Alkali Baba, had provided the needed equipment for the police around the country to operate effectively before, during and after the elections.
The AIG Zone 12 said aside from conferences where the senior Police Officers were given additional knowledge on elections, the zonal commands had been engaged deeply on issues surrounding election duties.
“And I am also aware that the IG has sent the election pamphlets indicating some of the electoral offences, the roles expected of the police and some important laws that police should know concerning the dynamics there. We are equipped, well equipped,” said Mr. Olokode.
He equally said all logistical issues had been sorted out, because all necessary working tools had been provided, so as to ensure that the election process was secure and conducted in peace.
“Even logistics, tools to work with, the machines that will make us move round and ensure that the hoodlums do not hijack the policy. For example, the IG has sent vehicles to all commands and more are coming. We are sure more of these vehicles are coming. The IG has tried in that aspect. We have so many equipment, materials that we have gotten, and more are still coming, we are sure of it. So, we are adequately prepared,” said Mr. Olokode.
He charged the Police in the zone to pay more attention to specific issues in the zone, such as the transportation of ballots forms from the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to Local Government Areas, LGA and polling units.
“INEC premises must be fortified before, during, and after elections. Ensure public order during voting at polling Stations be protective and make sure elections are violent free. By this lecture, the desire to conduct free, fair, credible and non violent exercise will be achieved. This is to guarantee conducive environment for citizens to freely exercise their electorate franchise assured members of the public especially politic1ans, of police neutrality as well as level-playing ground for all,” said Mr. Olokode.
He called on politicians and the electorate to be guided by the overriding obligation and place national security above their personnel interest, while playing politics within the extent rule.
The AIG Zone 12 says the police in the zone is fully prepared to deploy uniquely potent assets to deal decisively with any individual or group that may attempt to threaten internal security interest before, during or after the election.
On measures being adopted to forestall insecurity around the Kolmani Oil Field between Bauchi and Gombe States, the AIG in charge of Zone 12, says the Police is well aware of likely ugly incidences that might happen, such as the upsurge in crime.
“The commissioners of police of both Bauchi and Gombe have been informed of what is likely to happen in such places. Because there is no doubt that, that point will draw the attention of so many. But that shouldn’t be any serious thing to contend with now, because we are aware of what will likely happen and we are also prepared to ensure the safety of the people around there, as well as the machineries on ground,” said Mr. Olokode.
Addressing the officers of the Gombe State Police Command, the AIG Zone 12, admonished them to treat members of their communities with courtesy and civility, because the Police were assigned to serve the people.
There may be one or two problems here and there, but they should handle it with utmost care. They should show compassion to people. If there are cases that are not too serious, they should advise the person and set them to go. Not all cases should be taken to court or you detain so many people. We should be very friendly to the people and that is what I meant by “You should police with human face,” said Mr. Olokode.
He, however, said they should work in synergy with other sister agencies, especially during the election period, because the police alone cannot achieve the desired peace and security.
Mr. Olokode said the responsibility of the police in a democratic society transcended the traditional roles they play, hence the expectations were on them to ensure a stable democracy; Conducive to the good governance, creating an enabling environment for economic development.
“And providing acceptable basic Service delivery for the people of our zone, who are bound to be involved by way of community policing,” said the Zone 12 AIG.
He promised to build on positive aspects which were firmly entrenched in areas where giant strides were expected.
The Gombe State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Oqua Etim, said the command had made provisions to secure the state ahead of the 2023 elections by directing all Divisional Officers and Tactical Formations to develop a workplan to identify flash points and find out risk assessment before, during and after the elections.
Mr. Etim said the police, in collaboration with other security agencies ies had continued to engage political parties in the state to be guided by section 92, sub section 1, 2, 3 and sub section 4of the 2022 Electoral Act.
“That is why so far, Sir, we have not heard of any violent clash between any party in the State,” CP Etim said.
He, however, requested that the AIG Zone 12 should use his position to post senior officers in the ranks of Chief Superintendent of Police and Superintendent of Police to the command to fill up vacant positions as sectional heads in the State Criminal Investigation Department.
He said the need was due to manpower deficit, which had made more senior officers to hold forth as sectional heads.