The Nigeria Police has pledged to ensure tight security during the primary elections of the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party scheduled to hold in Abuja at the end of the month.
This was as the National Association of Nigerian Students vowed to carry out its initial threat to disrupt the presidential primaries of both parties in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja if the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities persists.
The APC has fixed its presidential primary for May 29 and 30 while the PDP scheduled its primary for May 28 and 29. Both are to be held in Abuja.
However, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, told Saturday PUNCH on Friday that adequate personnel and materials would be deployed for the protection of aspirants, delegates, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, party officials and other dignitaries that would participate in the primaries.
Adejobi stated, “An operation order has been prepared by the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja, upon the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, to provide adequate security at the two primaries. We have done adequate deployment of human and material resources; our ICT and intelligence assets have been equally deployed. We are working with other security agencies in this regard.”
Asked how the security agencies would cope with manning the PDP and APC and PDP presidential primaries holding less than about 24 hours apart, Adejobi gave an assurance that the police had what it would take to ensure hitch-free primaries.
He added, “With all these arrangements on ground, we don’t envisage any hitch. Even if we have the two (primaries) the same day, there will be no issues at all. We have what it takes to police the events.”
He, however, declined a request to state the number of policemen that would be on duty, saying, “It’s unprofessional to disclose the number of personnel deployed for any assignment, but we have adequate number of men and assets deployed for the assignments.”
No going back on planned protest – NANS
Meanwhile, the NANS President, Sunday Asefon, said in an interview with one of our correspondents that its threat to disrupt the primaries of the two major political parties in Abuja remained, should the strike continue.
He noted, “Like I mentioned in our last interview, we are ready. They can shift their primaries to anytime they like, we stand by our words if the strike is not called off before their primaries. On Thursday, our presence was massively felt in Ado-Ekiti where we protested against the protracted strike. We are warming up for that of Abuja. It is just some days away, God will keep us alive till then.”
Police not aware of NANS’ threat – FPRO
The Force PRO told Saturday PUNCH that the police were not aware of the threat by NANS to disrupt the parties’ primaries. He said the student body had not notified the force officially as opposed to what he described as laid down tradition.
“I’m not aware of any threat by NANS and as I speak with you, there is no official communication from them,” he added.
Asked to advise the students on the fallout of disrupting such an event, the police spokesperson said, “I can’t advise them until I know what they want to do. We relate with NANS but up till now, I have not heard anything from NAN officially or personally. Maybe, if they communicate with us, we will know how to go about it. If they want to do anything, they will tell me. Officially, we are not aware of any (planned) activity from NANS.”
Adejobi also declined to disclose the action the police would take if NANS goes ahead with its plan.
NSCDC to deploy 6,000 operatives
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps would be deploying 6,000 personnel for the primaries, the corps spokesman, Shola Odumosu, has said.
According to him, the corps would synergise with the police to ensure water-tight security during the programmes.
He noted, “We will be deploying 6,000 personnel for the primaries, which are happening the same weekend. We will also be deploying our men to protect critical national infrastructure. We would also have undercover personnel, including the SWAT unit and Special Forces, ahead of the primaries.
“Our men will also be deployed for pin-down while the Chemical, Biological and Radiological Unit of the corps will be working with the Explosive Ordinance Disposal of the police. Our K-9 team would also be on active duty to ensure effective crowd control.”