Osun Poll: Police Withdraw Orderlies from Politicians
As the governorship election in Osun State enters D-day, the newly deployed police commissioner in charge of the Saturday’s polls, Augustine Evbakhabokun, has withdrawn all policemen guarding politicians in Osun. He said this at a press conference on Friday evening.
Evbakhabokun warned that any politician who goes out with policemen on election day or who travels across the state to monitor the election will be locked up. The police boss, who was deployed to Osun only three days ago, confirmed that some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were arrested by the police on Thursday with election materials but said they were mistakenly arrested.
He said the INEC officials had missed their way and were erroneously detained by the police. At first, he denied that the incident ever happened but only provided details when he was pressed by journalists.
He could not however explain why the INEC vehicle remained parked at the state CID with election materials in it but said the incident had been resolved.
He said the police were “fully mobilised” and have been deployed to the three senatorial districts in Osun State. He however failed to disclose the number of policemen in the state, claiming that it was for security reasons.
A newspaper had reported on Friday that there were over 65,000 security operatives deployed to Osun for the one-day exercise.
The police boss warned all troublemakers, noting that, his men will not “beg issues” but “force issues”. He said the police are apolitical and only would like to see a free and fair election.
“All we are saying is that we want a free and fair election,” he said. He quoted the 1999 Constitution and explained that the police are empowered to maintain law and order.
He said anyone who instigates violence will “have only himself to blame”. He said Nigeria was “tired of violence all over the country,” and promised that policemen will neither harass nor intimidate voters.
He warned those who have nothing to do at polling units to stay home. He said voters should stay 300 metres until the exercise is completed. Evbakhabokun said he had not been served any injunction by the All Progressives Congress, APC, restraining the police and other security agents from harassing or arresting APC members.
He denied that some students had been arrested in Ife, and said he had not arrested anyone since he took over three days ago.
He called on Osun people to come out and vote without fear or favour, and assured accredited journalists that they will not be harassed by policemen.
As the Commissioner spoke at the police headquarters in Osogbo, a sea of policemen waited outside to be deployed to the 30 local government areas in the state.
They chanted, “We do good to those who do good, and do bad to those who do bad.”