There was a bomb scare in Onitsha on Friday ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State.

It was gathered that two high calibre improvised explosive devices were discovered near the Onitsha North Local Government Area Police Station.

However, our correspondents learnt that the police anti-bomb squad averted the explosion by demobilising the IEDs.

But the development created tension in Onitsha ahead of Saturday’s (today) election amid palpable fear in different parts of the state that the election could be marred by violence.

Use of policemen as guards by VIPs banned

Further assuring the people of the state of security, Habila warned that the police would not permit the use of security personnel as guards by very important personalities at polling units during the governorship election.

Habila told newsmen at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s office in Awka that the restriction of movement would be binding on all persons except groups and individuals accredited to monitor voting.

“Tell all VIPs that they cannot be accompanied by uniform personnel because that also will intimidate others. People are expected to walk a short distance, cast their votes and go back home.

“No VIP, no government official, no individual should put onto themselves the responsibility of monitoring, except the press and accredited observers. International and national observers will be given an opportunity,” he noted.

Speaking on the security arrangement for the exercise, he explained that with the massive deployment of additional 21,000 police personnel to join the existing 6,000 operatives in the state, five policemen were expected to man each polling unit.

He further disclosed that while 300 Hilux vehicles had been positioned in areas prone to violence, 15 gunboats would be used to cover the riverine areas.

The DIG also said that three helicopters would hover around the three senatorial districts of the state to provide aerial view during the election.

We’ll not dictate to INEC – Police

Ahead of today’s governorship election in Anambra State, the police also said that contrary to speculations in some quarters, they had no intention to dictate to the Independent National Electoral Commission on the conduct of the poll.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations stated that the police would only be involved in the area of ensuring the security of lives and property.

“We are not dictating to INEC. The police are only interested in security. Why would the police tell INEC what to do? So, you think I would go and tell INEC what they should do about the election; has it ever happened?

“Do you believe that one? Do you know who these people (INEC heads) are? Some of them are professors and technocrats. Then you would dictate to them; it is not possible. Is it with a gun?

“Ours is to ensure security and not to dictate to INEC. This is one of the dummies they (politicians) want to sell. That is a very cheap propaganda intending to discourage people from exercising their franchise and defending their votes. Like I said earlier, it can never happen and it is not possible,” Habila stressed.

We’re not compromised, says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has denied the speculation that some of its personnel have been compromised by politicians to interfere with the credibility of the governorship election in Anambra State.

There had been speculation that the commission deployed additional ad hoc workers to certain locations in order to give an advantage to a particular political party.

But the state Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Leo Nkedife, said, “INEC is not in any way compromised. The issue is that we do not have enough corps members in Anambra State. So, that necessitated us to go to neighbouring states to source for corps members to complement.

“At the stakeholders’ forum, that issue was raised. They said that corps members from outside should not go to a particular local government area and we have effected that. So, INEC is not in any way compromised. It is totally false.”

He, however, stated that the commission had not received any complaint from its workers bothering on security threats.

According to him, INEC has provided enough incentives for the welfare of the ad hoc personnel, including transport allowances during their training, feeding allowances and the main honorarium.

“We have even made provisions for their feeding at the RAC (Registration Area Centres). So, I think their welfare is well taken care of and we have warned them not to compromise their positions,” Nkedife added.

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