Olusola Amore, deputy commissioner of police, is the Force Public Relations Officer. He spoke to Tajudeen Suleiman
What is the level of preparations of the Nigerian Police for the forthcoming general elections?
Well, we’re more than prepared. Our men have been trained and retrained. The federal government has given us all that it takes for us to succeed in providing security during the elections. The Nigeria Police Force has also organised workshops on the need for a free and fair election, and the need for inter-agency collaborations. All other agencies were invited for the workshops. We have been exchanging ideas on how the election could be free and secure. Money has been given to procure vehicles, fuel, welfare of the officers and other logistics required for the elections. If all other stakeholders would play by the rules, I don’t think there will be any problem during the election.
If the stakeholders don’t play by the rules, is the police ready in terms of manpower, equipment and strategies to deal with the situation?
We’re ready to deal with the situation. But I would rather prefer where stakeholders play by the rules. Elections involve stakeholders. The police is there to provide security, INEC is there to officiate, the voters are there to vote, the politicians are there to organise their supporters to vote, and the NGOs are there to monitor. So you can see that elections are everybody’s business. The police are there to guard the officials and election. So we’re appealing to the politician to help us conduct a crisis-free election.
Is the police going to be in charge of security for the elections?
Police is the lead security agency for election. The Nigerian Police Force is the lead security agency for the election. Other security agencies would only assist or collaborate with the Nigerian Police to ensure effective security during the elections. The police will deploy more than 240,000 personnel, I don’t think any other security outfit in this country has that kind of capacity. It means there would be two police officers per polling unit. So we are now going to have additional deployment of personnel from the Prisons, Customs, Immigration, the Civil Defence and the State Security Services. We’ll also use the military to guard vulnerable points like federal government properties, PHCN installations and so on.
What role would the SSS play?
The SSS would be deployed for intelligence gathering. If we have information that there may be trouble in a place, we’ll then move in the uniform people.
Do you think the inter-agency rivalry, which has been the bane of our security system, would mar security preparedness for the elections?
There is nothing like inter-agency rivalry. What we have is collaboration. Every agency has its role to play, and they are clearly defined. So there cannot be any rivalry, especially because we have been having joint meetings towards the election.
What is the manpower strength of the police?
So you want me to tell you our strength so that the politicians would go and recruit enough number of thugs to counter our men? No I won’t tell you. I’ll only say we have enough officers to take care of the election.