Anthony Ogbizi, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, has advised prospective voters in the South-East to ignore social media reports of a boycott order by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Ogbizi gave the advice in Umuahia on Friday at a meeting of the Inter-Agencies Consultative Committee on Elections Security with stakeholders, including Inter-party Advisory Council, traditional rulers and the media.
He described the trending reports as obsolete, saying that it was “being replayed” to deceive unsuspecting members of the public ahead of the general elections in the zone.
He said: “The news trending in the social media on IPOB asking its members to boycott the general elections is old.
“It is being replayed in the social media to cast doubts in the minds of the people.”
He said that anybody that would attempt to disrupt the smooth and peaceful conduct of the polls would be arrested and dealt with according to the law.
He said: “We will leave no stone unturned to protect your vote. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the elections are peaceful.”
The police boss further gave an assurance that the police would provide a level playing field for all the political parties during the election.
He therefore urged the people to go out and vote for the candidates of their choice, saying that “adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure a hitch-free exercise.”
He said: “If you do not vote, it means that you were not part of the process of electing your leaders so how can you demand for good governance?”
Ogbizi said that the police would also provide security for INEC infrastructure from the headquarters to all the polling units.
He also said that there would be adequate security at the ward, local government and state collation centres.
He said that only accredited party agents would be allowed into the collation centres, adding that there would not be any sacred cow.
He also spoke on the fear about ballot box snatching, saying that innovations in the electoral process, including the use of the smart card reader, had rendered ballot box snatching irrelevant.
Ogbizi said: “The chances of ballot box snatching will be remote because it will not serve any purpose, considering the innovations in the electoral process.” News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Chairman of IPAC, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, in his remarks lauded the security arrangements being put in place ahead of the polls.
Ehiemere said: “I am excited and wish to commend the security agencies for adequate security arrangements angements on ground. This is unusual and unprecedented.
He said: “In the past, everybody would besiege the INEC collation centres but this is a clear departure from the past.”
He appealed to the security chiefs to ensure that “sacred cows, even the governor and high-ranking party chieftains are barred from the state collation centre”.
Ehiemere further charged the heads of the security agencies to make sure that their efforts to guarantee credible polls were not sabotaged by the field officers.
NAN reports that the meeting was attended by the Assistant Inspector-General, Zone 9, Wilson Inalegwu, Commissioner of Police, Eneh Okon, and representatives of heads of other security and paramilitary agencies in the state.