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 Polls: Army, police tighten security

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PostSubject: Polls: Army, police tighten security   2015-03-25, 06:22

Soldiers and riot policemen are on
some highways in the North
Central, Osun and Kaduna States
with just three days to the
presidential and National Assembly
The security personnel are seen
searching vehicles, forcing
motorists and travellers to spend
longer hours on the roads.
Findings by The PUNCH show that
the security checks are intensified
as more residents flee from the
North over fear of post-election
The fleeing residents, who are
leaving states like Kano, Kaduna,
Bauchi, Gombe and Plateau are
heading southwards.
Our correspondent, who passed
through the Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga-
Lafia-Guma-Makurdi routes on
Tuesday (yesterday) learnt that
additional security checkpoints and
men had been deployed in the last
couple of days.
A journey of about three hours from
Abuja to Makurdi, Benue State in
normal times, took close to six
hours on Tuesday due to the heavy
security presence.
An officer at one of the checkpoints
on the highways said, “Political
tension has built up everywhere
and politicians are looking for ways
to outdo one another.
“Security agencies have a
responsibility to prevent any act
likely to lead to a breach of public
“At times like this, you don’t rule
out the possibility of hired persons
transporting arms and other
dangerous weapons. So, it is better
to prevent than lament later.”
The officer added that people
were travelling to the South over
fear that “something ugly could
happen during or after the
He stated, “Despite all the
assurances given to them not to
flee, some continue to do so.
“This has been a daily occurrence,
but we keep assuring them that
nothing will happen.”
One of the fleeing people, Godwin
Nzeagu, told one of our
correspondents that he would
“never” allow what happened to
him after the 2011 presidential poll
to recur.
Nzeagu, a textile dealer, who hails
from Anambra State, claimed that
he escaped death by a whisker
when rampaging youths attacked
his business premises in 2011 soon
after the results of the elections
were declared.
“All these assurances do not give
any guarantee that you are safe.
You can’t tell what will cause the
mayhem,” he said.
In Lafia, Nasarawa State,
operatives of the Department of
State Services are seen patrolling
the town with lethal weapons in an
apparent ‘show of force.’
The DSS operatives wear the
service’ black vests with DSS boldly
printed on the back.
In Osogbo and Ede in Osun State,
many residents woke up on
Tuesday to see the soldiers
stopping and searching motorists.
A resident, Segun Adeyemi, said the
presence of the armed soldiers on
Ilobu Road in Osogbo caused panic
among them.
Although he explained that the
soldiers did not harass anybody, he
said he had thought that policemen
would be used to carry out such
task since a court had restrained
the Federal Government from
deploying soldiers for the polls.
It was gathered that some soldiers,
who were also deployed in Akoda
in Ede, caused traffic snarl with
their checkpoints on Tuesday.
Efforts to speak to the Public
Relations Officer of the Nigerian
Army Engineering Construction
Regiment, Ede, Capt. O. Olaoluwa,
proved abortive.
Calls put across to his telephone
were not answered and a text
message sent to him was also not
responded to.
But the APC in the state has
criticised the Federal Government
for disobeying the High Court
order barring the deployment of
soldiers for the elections.
The spokesperson for the APC in the
state, Kunle Oyatomi, said in a
statement on Tuesday that the
Federal Government planned to
use the military to harass and arrest
APC leaders on the eve of the
The statement read, “President
Goodluck Jonathan has a duty to
respect the law, otherwise his
apparent disregard of court orders
in the run-up to presidential and
general elections will constitute
the greatest threat yet to the
survival of democracy in Nigeria.
‘‘From the look of things in Osun,
regarding the deployment of
soldiers for the election, it would
appear that President Jonathan has
no intention whatsoever to respect
the series of Federal High Court-
rulings, not to deploy soldiers for
the conduct of March 28 and April 11
“Soldiers were sighted yesterday in
some parts of the state. The Federal
Government’s led Peoples
Democratic Party planned to use
the military to harass, arrest APC
leaders on the eve of the elections
as they did last August when over
700 APC leaders and members
arrested and locked up in
detention on the eve of the
governorship election.
“If President Jonathan goes ahead
to disregard the legal position on
this matter as articulated in several
Federal High Courts across the
country, that would be worst
contempt for the law, exhibited by
any Nigerian head of state or
President ever. The consequences
for our fledgling democracy will be
“Jonathan should act in honourable
manner like a Christian he claims
to be by respecting the law,
otherwise, he would be considered
not better than the like of Mobutu
Sese Seko of Congo and Idi Amin of
Uganda, both of whom had the
greatest disregard and disrespect
for their countries’ laws and
brought grief, that still resonates
Also soldiers bave been deployed
in areas considered as ‘flashpoints’
in Kaduna State.
The soldiers were seen by one of
our correspondents erecting
makeshift tents at the LEA Primary
School Malali, St. Rita’s Catholic
Church, Unguwn Yaro; Unguwan
Kudu, Unguwan Sunday and
Rigachukun areas of the state.
At Mando Motor Park, Hayin Banki
and the Western Bypass, men of the
Nigerian Air Force have been
stationed in there.
One of the men, who spoke on
condition of anonymity said that
they were on “special duty.”
The police in the state have also
intensified patrol of the metropolis
and areas such as Alkali Road, NEPA
Roundabout, Golf Course Road and
Isa Kaita Junction. They have
stationed their patrol vehicles at
the Police College/Constitution
Road in Barnawa.
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