A total of N64 billion has been approved for the Nigerian Police Force as a working fund for security management for the upcoming general election.
Thus, the Force Headquarters has dispatched anti-riot weapons, water cannons and Armored Personnel Transport Vehicles, among others, to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to guarantee waterproofing security during the elections. .
Police sources confirmed to The Tide’s source that all commandos and formations across the country had received their share of the weapons and ammunition disclosed by Police Inspector General Usman Baba in Abuja.
The sources, however, noted that the total number received by each command and formation could not be disclosed for security reasons.
One of the sources said: “The headquarters has deployed all riot weapons, water cannons, APCs and other weapons and ammunition to all 37 commandos and police formations in preparation for the elections.”
Another source said: “We have the weapons and ammunition, including water cannons, APCs and riot weapons, and we are fully prepared for election security management. But we can’t state the total number we got for security reasons.”
Our source reports that N2.98 trillion was provisioned for police, military, intelligence and paramilitary services as recurring and capital expenditures for defense and security in the 2023 approved budget to address insecurity, representing 13.4% of the total N21.83 trillion. budget.
The N64 billion police operating fund for the elections was contained in the N21.83 trillion budget approved by the National Assembly and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday 3rd January 2023.
Meanwhile, the Force Headquarters has confirmed the deployment of the teams and has given security guarantees before, during and after the elections.
It also noted that it had continued to deploy adequate personnel to ensure security during political activities, as political parties demand more police presence at campaign locations.
Force Public Relations Officer Olumuyiwa Adejobi said: “There is no cause for alarm as we have shared a lot of equipment, especially riot gear like APCs, water cannons, tear gas, pepper sprays and some non-lethal equipment. . weapons
But we don’t want to be specific about the actual number deployed because we don’t want to reveal our strength to the enemies, but every commando has their part, and we are sure they will be of great help.
“The distribution is still going on; in fact, we have just concluded the exchange of kits and materiel with all the commandos dealing with the departments in the annex of FHQ, Abuja and Lagos. So our staff is ready to go and we are still planning to share more as we expect additional tool deliveries for the General Election.”
Security experts have said that the deployment of riot control weapons, water cannons, APCs and other weapons and ammunition to the 37 state police commandos and formations in preparation for the elections was proof that the police were in charge of the electoral security management in the country. .
A security expert, Chidi Omeje, said: “This is good news for Nigeria and Nigerians. Nigeria is a democracy and constitutionally the police are supposed to be the de facto security agency in charge of internal security and the management of election security.
“This recent deployment of weapons and ammunition and the N64bn provided for the police in the 2023 budget for electoral security management is an indication that we are on the right track as a country, and if the police stay true to the course and if the N64bn is right for the police, then we will achieve peaceful, secure, free, fair and credible elections this year.”
Meanwhile, the police high command has stated that it will provide extra security coverage to political parties, which are only required to make requests.
Adejobi said: “We have been deploying personnel in various political activities so far, and we will continue to do so. Other security agencies have also deployed adequate personnel to increase our power.
“The number of personnel we have been deploying is sufficient for any normal, peaceful demonstration or campaign, except if the political parties claim or try to send a message that the demonstrations will not be peaceful and they must respond to that.
“We do not require any conditions from political parties before deploying personnel. All we want you to do is inform the police in various locations of your planned demonstrations or campaigns, and make sure they are peaceful.
“We hope that they respect the law and the peace agreement already signed at all levels. Everyone in Nigeria is equal before the law and has rights enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, we preach peace, we want peace, and we will enforce the law to have peace where it is needed.”
The Ogun State Police Command said it had yet to arrest any suspects in connection with the attacks on INEC offices in the state last year.