The Nigeria Police Force has reacted to the threat issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for Saturday, November 18.
The proscribed secessionist group had issued a threat during a road show at the state capital last Saturday to warn the would-be electorate against participating in the election, declaring death as consequence for not yielding the warning.
It was a renewed threat as IPOB, who sought to carve a sovereign entity for the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, had often insisted on scuttling the election.
Apart from promising death to the electorate, the group also demanded the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who whereabouts remains unknown since the military raided his country home in a recent operation.
But, in an interview published by the Punch newspaper on Sunday, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, said the command was fully prepared to ensure a violence-free election for the state.
“We are all aware that IPOB is already a proscribed group and the proscription stops them from meeting or carrying out any activities. We will go after them if they try to foment trouble, through our intelligence network. Since their proscription, we have not had any activity from them like before when they went about molesting people.
“Sometimes, in the past, they passed through my office and even throw stones at us and insulted us but since the Federal Government waded in and got them proscribed, we will not have any of that because they are now an illegal organisation and if they surface, we will go after them,” he said.
According to him, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has approved and made available all human and material resources needed to make the police discharge its duties effectively before, during and after the election.
“The IG did the entire mobilisation and we have taken everything into cognizance so we can have a free and fair election. We assure members of the public that we will have the best election with enough security; and people are sure, they know and have seen our strategy on security, and they are ready to come out and vote because they have seen our strategy,” the CP added.
While defending the large number of police officers (about 28,000) mobilized for the election, Umar said it was not intended to intimidate the voters and other residents of the state, but in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act which stipulates how police officers should be distributed for election operations.