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Ahead of the November 6 Governorship election in Anambra State, the police have said they will be battle-ready to forestall attempts by the separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and its militant wing, Eastern Security Network, ESN, to disrupt the voting exercise in the state.

The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, gave the assurance on election security at a roundtable dialogue organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS.

The IGP, who was represented by a Commissioner of Police, Ebong Eyibo, Federal Operations, Abuja Headquarters, said the police have identified the flashpoints in Anambra and in its efforts to quell any outbreak of law and order either by IPOB/ESN or any other persons or groups of persons and divided the state into about six Area Command for effective election security.

The police said it will deploy “unarmed men in all the polling centres but will deploy armed men within the vicinity of polling units in line with INEC guidelines, provide maximum security for sensitive agencies like the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, INEC office as well as escorts for electoral materials even as the police appealed to political parties, their candidates to make its job a lot easier by refraining from ballot box snatching.

Election monitoring and Civil Society organizations share similar anxieties ahead of polls.

Country Director, ActionAid, Ene Obi, said it has become imperative for stakeholders to channel their energies and resources on election security with a view to ensuring that state resources are not used to suppress opposition voices.

She said her agency is keenly watching events in Anambra State and has noticed the ” acrimony” that has characterized the nomination processes in the big contending political parties (APGA, PDP, and APC) without clear candidates and left the electorate confused.

Obi lamented the humongous amount of money which is beyond the permissible limits of the law being spent by candidates in Anambra and feared the likely implication on the integrity of the election.

She expressed even greater concerns over “a disappointing level” of women nominations by political parties for the Anambra election.

The ActionAid Country Director said the twin bills on Electoral Act Amendment 2021 and the Election Offences Commission should have been signed and test run in the governorship election in Anambra, calling on voters in the state to shun any political party without a clear cut development manifesto for the people.

The interactive session provided opportunities for both the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to trade tackles and market their chances at the polls in the absence of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Fielding questions, the Assistant Director, Publicity, APC, Olusegun Dare, said the party has no issue with the nomination of its candidate, Andy Uba, in Anambra State, pointing out that a lot of those aggrieved by the outcome of its June 27th direct primary have withdrawn their cases in court.

This was as the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP dismissed anxieties over the non-inclusion of its candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, on the INEC list of candidates.

In his remark, the Director-General, NILDS, Abubakar Sulaiman, explained that the roundtable and especially the issue of election security had become necessary at a time when Anambra and other states in the Southeast are just beginning to recover from violent attacks by IPOB and ESN in the region.

He enjoined all the political parties to eschew violence and play by the rules.