Environmental rights activist expresses worry as Buhari deploys 30,000 police, 35,000 army, 165 armour carriers for Ekiti election

An environmental rights activist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, has expressed fear over the possible outcome of the Saturday, July 14 governorship election in the hot Western state of Ekiti, following the massive deployment of security agents and the police’ action against Governor Ayodele Fayose at the early hours of Wednesday July 11.

Statistics made available to Emeraldng.com, if they are anything to go by reveals that 6 helicopters, 250 police patrol vehicles, 30,000 policemen, five army generals, 6 assistant inspectors general of police, 300 DSS officers, 35,000 military officers, military vehicles and 165 amour personnel carriers, all deployed for the Saturday election in Ekiti state.

In a statement made available to Emeraldng.com, Mulade, though commended the federal government for putting measures in place to quell possible uprising, he questioned why the federal hgovernment failed to deploy such quantity of security apparatus to the most troublesome states where Fulani herdsmen have continuously maimed and massacred Nigerians with President Muhammadu Buhari and his security authorities remaining akimbo.

Hear him: “We want to commend the Nigeria security agents for the massive deployment of security personnel to Ekiti. However, more worrisome about the huge deployment of security agents to Ekiti state is the perception in some quarters that the security agents may serve negative ends.

“One may ask, why should the Nigeria police deploy as much as 30,000 police officers and men just for a governorship election? You can also imagine the number of soldiers, Civil Defence, DSS and other paramilitary outfits deployed.

“Why not Zamfara, Plateau and Benue in the North central where massive and cruel killings are taking place? The deployment is it to intimidate the people and deprive them of their rights?

“By this act, the people of Ekiti state may tactically be disenfranchised because the presence  of this number of security agents may breed an atmosphere of fear and intimidation cajoling the people to stay away from polling units and invariably denied from casting their votes.”

READ HIS FULL STATEMENT

EKITI ELECTIONS AND INSECURITY; PRESS STATEMENT BY CENTER FOR PEACE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

We have observed with keen interest the security situation in Nigeria today. The security challenges have become of great concern to us and we believe to other well-meaning Nigerians. The spate of killings across the country especially, in the North Central and the unending fatal conflicts between herders and farmers across the country.  There are further threats of kidnapping, assassinations, cult gangs and other criminalities that might compromise national security. Interestingly, the federal government has accused some politicians of masterminding these killings.

The fear again is that these security challenges might negatively affect the July 14 Ekiti governorship election and 2019 general elections.  There has been a bombardment of speeches that are not healthy from political actors across party lines in Ekiti state either accusing one another or the election management board that is INEC of irregularities or attempts to rig the elections. These unguarded speeches are capable of triggering actions that will cause a serious breach to not only security of lives and property in Ekiti state but National security.

We want to commend the Nigeria Security agents for the massive deployment of security personnel to Ekiti. However, more worrisome about the huge deployment of security agents to Ekiti state is the perception in some quarters that the security agents may serve negative ends. One may ask, why should the Nigeria police deploy as much as 30,000 police officers and men just for a governorship election?

You can also imagine the number of soldiers, Civil Defence, DSS and other paramilitary outfits deployed. Why not Zamfara, Plateau and Benue in the North Central where massive and cruel killings are taking place. The deployment is it to intimidate the people and deprive them of their rights? By this act, the people of Ekiti state are tactically disenfranchised because the presence  of this number of security agents breeds an atmosphere of fear and intimidation cajoling the people to stay away from polling units and invariably denied from casting their votes.

We are calling on security agencies, INEC and the government to provide an enabling environment free from intimidation for a free, fair and credible election. Security agencies especially, the police must conduct themselves professionally. There is no war in Ekiti state, what we have is election, therefore, the security agencies must be neutral and allow the people to freely exercise their franchise. It is the peoples’ right.

Equally, we are calling on people of Ekiti state to come out en mass and vote for their choice candidates without feeling intimidated by the presence of these security agencies.

We advocate for violence free elections in Ekiti state. Employing proper security intelligence will obviously be better than deploying tens of thousands of policemen and security agents on the eve of election to states as though we are in a state of war and which might negatively affect the turnout of voters and the outcome of the election.

Finally, we want to strongly commend the International Communities and Donors for showing great concern in promoting peace and security in Nigeria through trainings and sponsorship of Civil Society Organizations in elections and security matters.

Thank you.

Comrade Sheriff Mulade, PHF, FNES

National Coordinator/CEO

Center for Peace and Environmental Justice

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