Security in Osun State for the governorship election billed for Saturday has been further reinforced with the deployment of 50 sniffer dogs, a unit each of anti-chemical and anti-nuclear Special Forces, that will support troops, policemen and members of other security agencies in the state.
We learnt that the security fortification planned for Osun was provoked by intelligence reports that thugs and other miscreants may take advantage of any loophole in the safety network to cause chaos and force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the election, should the outcome fail to meet the expectations of certain political interests.
The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had earlier informed of the deployment of the first batch of sniffer dogs specially trained for election and for crowd control while its nuclear and chemical weapons team, the anti-vandalism squad and other units would arrive Osun latest Friday morning before the August 9, governorship election.
The security agency also deployed other teams from the departments of peace and conflict resolution, disaster management, crises intervention squad and the emergency operations team to handle complaints and prompt auxiliary intervention should there be tragedies during the polls.
NSCDC spokesman, Mr. Emmanuel Okeh, disclosed in a statement in Abuja that every effort has been put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in the state before, during and after the election.
He called on the electorate and peace loving Osun residents to carry out their civic duties and responsibilities in a transparent manner and to relate peacefully with one another without fear of intimidation.
Okeh also tasked the people to inform security operatives promptly of any threats, suspicious acts or movement and the presence of unfamiliar faces, such as strangers or persons suspected of having motives at variance with the poll.
He appealed to the people not to panic or feel unnecessarily intimidated by the presence of large number of security personnel, but to expect maximum cooperation from officers who are specifically assigned to the state on election duties.
He said: “The NSCDC Commandant General, Dr. Ade Abolurin, has handed down stern warnings to miscreants planning to cause commotion and confusion during the August 9 governorship election in Osun State to do a rethinking because the corps will not tolerate anyone who plans to truncate the electoral process.
“He reiterated that irrespective of political affinity, all hands must be on deck to make Osun State election hitch-free, such that it will be a reference point for both local and international observers and commentators when credible elections are being discussed in the country.”
The Commandant General also advised politicians to embrace security and support the security operatives deployed to the state rather than engage in unwarranted propaganda and verbal attacks on security operatives who are in Osun for the good of everybody.
Dr. Abolurin said: “The whole essence is to ensure hitch free electoral process. Hence, politicians should appreciate security deployment as it is mundane to leave security in the hands of hoodlums, miscreants and hijackers.”
He further advised security personnel to allow professional training to take centre stage in their approach and effort to save lives and protect the citizenry.