The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has said the security agency would deploy a 31,000 police personnel ahead of the governorship election in Edo state.
By Kunle Sanni
Mr Adamu said this on Monday at a stakeholders’ meeting held at Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, Benin the Edo state capital, Vanguard newspaper reported.
The meeting was organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had fixed September 19 for the Edo governorship. The polls are also expected to hold, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Monday, Edo State ranks fifth with over 2,000 cases of COVID-19, according to data from the NCDC.
However, there are also security challenges rocking the state, with reports of reports violence, shooting, and disruption of public peace during the electioneering campaigns in the state.
Some civil right groups have expressed concerns over the spate of violence in the state.
Osagie Ize-Iyamu is running under the APC, while the incumbent governor Godwin Obaseki is running for re-election on the platform of the PDP, after being denied renomination by the APC. This is arising from his fall out with his successor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was then the national chairman of the party.
But, the IGP, while assuring the safety of lives and properties, said the Police have been able to map out all the three senatorial districts and the 18 local government areas in the state.
“Aside from the optimal deployment of our intelligence assets to pro-actively frustrate any threat to the elections, we shall be deploying a total of 31,000 Police personnel for the purpose of protecting the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the electorate, and residents of Edo State before, during and immediately after the elections.
“As part of our election security plans, all the three senatorial districts, 18 local government areas, 192 wards and 2,627 polling units across the state have been appropriately mapped out, and adequate deployments will be made to ensure security,” he said.
In his remarks, the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said the Commission is determined to deepen the deployment of technology in elections.
He said the new technology deployed by the commission called Z-pad would serve as biometric accreditation using the facial image of the voter fingerprint authentication.
INEC had also introduced last month a dedicated online portal, “INEC Result Viewing (IRV),” that will enable Nigerians to view results.
The platform was used during the August 8 Nasarawa central by-election; noting it would be used as a test run for feature elections.
The electoral umpire, however, stressed that the innovation does not constitute electronic collation of results.
“Perhaps the most critical of the recent innovations introduced by the Commission is the use of a tablet now popularly called the z-pad. It is a new innovation introduced to serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation using the facial image of the voter in support of the fingerprint authentication by the Smart Card Reader.
‘’Secondly, the camera on the tablet will be used to take a picture of the polling unit result (EC8A) and to upload same on a dedicated portal (INEC RESULT VIEWING – IRV). This will enable all those interested in viewing the results to do so in real-time.
“The Commission deployed the z-pad in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election in Nasarawa State on 8th August 2020. It was a test-run intended to assess the functionality of the technology before its deployment in major elections.
“While the capture and upload of polling unit level result went on smoothly, the facial authentication did not. Without going into the technical details, let me say that the Commission encountered hardware and software issues which needed to be fixed.”