Usman Baba, inspector-general of police (IGP), has ordered the fresh distribution of anti-riot gear and equipment for officers handling security for the 2023 elections.
The development was announced on Sunday in a statement by Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the force public relations officer (PRO).
The directive comes weeks after Babagana Monguno, national security adviser, had expressed concern over the spate of violence recorded relating to election activities.
Amid recent attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security operatives had been deployed to the commission’s facilities nationwide.
In the statement, Adejobi said the latest directive is part of efforts to effectively tackle security threats as the country prepares for the general election.
“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, NEAPS, fdc, CFR, has ordered all Commissioners of Police in charge of State Police Commands to promptly activate the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) so as to engage all stakeholders in evolving strategies for mitigating threats to the 2023 General Elections process within their various areas of responsibility,” the statement reads.
“The IGP notes that political violence, hate speech, threats, political intolerance, misinformation, and political extremism are all potential threats to our democracy and national security interests, and therefore urged all State Police Commissioners to work in synergy with other members of the ICCES to reduce occurrence and threats of violence to its barest minimum with swift prosecution of violators of extant electoral laws.
“The IGP has charged all Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands to ensure adequate and strategic deployment of officers and assets, as well as coordinate, deploy, and supervise officers from other security agencies scheduled for election duty, in accordance with ICCES directives, to fortify all facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within their respective areas of responsibility even as electoral materials are being relocated to such facilities, to ensure the safety and security of INEC personnel and materials before, during and after the 2023 General Elections and forestall attacks on INEC facilities.
“Similarly, the IGP has ordered a fresh distribution of gadgets, anti-riot gear, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for Police Officers across the federation in preparation for the 2023 General Election security management duty.
“The items include non-lethal weapons such as electro-shocks, rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, riot guns etc., for crowd control and to minimize casualty risk in eventual confrontations with subversive elements.
“The Inspector-General of Police reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to the protection of our democratic heritage and national security interests, while he called on other security agencies and stakeholders who constitute ICCES, as well as members of the public, to deliberately aid the Nigeria Police Force in its drive to ensure the safety and security of all and sundry before, during, and after the 2023 General Elections.”