The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered the distribution of weapons and protective equipment for officers across the country as 2023 general elections draws closer.
The IGP also directed all Commissioners of Police in the country to activate the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security to engage stakeholders in evolving strategies for mitigating threats to the elections.
According to a statement by the Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the police boss said that political violence, hate speech, threats, political intolerance and misinformation were all potential threats to national security interests.
He charged the CPs to ensure adequate and strategic deployment of officers and assets to ensure the safety and security of INEC personnel and materials before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
“Similarly, the IGP has ordered a fresh distribution of gadgets, anti-riot gears, and personal protective equipment for police officers across the federation in preparation for the 2023 general election security management duty,” the statement read.
“The items include non-lethal weapons such as electro-shocks, rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, riot guns etc., for crowd control and to minimise casualty risk in eventual confrontations with subversive elements.
“The IG reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to the protection of our democratic heritage and national security interests, while he called on other security agencies and stakeholders who constitute ICCES, as well as members of the public to deliberately aid the NPF in its drive to ensure the safety and security of all and sundry before, during, and after the 2023 general elections.”
The statement noted that the latest directive is part of efforts to effectively tackle security threats as the country prepares for the general election.
This is coming weeks after the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, expressed concern over the spate of violence recorded relating to election activities.
Similarly, facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been attacked recently with fears mounting on the safe conduct of next year’s polls.