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A’IBOM LG ELECTIONS: MKPAT ENIN POLITICAL OFFICES FOR SALE

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BY UBONG SAMPSON

I heard the contest regarding the forthcoming local government elections in Mkpat Enin, the Local Government Area I was politically unfortunate to have originated from, is assuming a HIGEST BIDDER TAKES IT ALL dimension. I heard that some persons are seriously enjoying the advantage the current political season has availed to put the contenders in a state of desperation, and making fortunes from their resulting vulnerability.

According to reliable information, in a bid to make the most out of this, some opportunists in the name of “party stakeholders” have taken to distorting political office seekers. However, I do understand this is a political season (as they called it), and of course, it is that season when those ‘unfortunate’ to seek political offices pay for virtually everything, including handshakes and pleasantries. Trust me, the beneficiaries of this Australian season are making the best of this opportunity this time.

Shortly after the bells sounded for the local government elections this time, the pay-as-you-go politicians in Mkpat Enin must have considered themselves specially blessed, if not for anything, for the number of interests that registered for the said elections. About 20 interests for the chairmanship position alone; add that to the ones seeking to represent each of the 14 wards in the legislative arm of the council, then you will understand that no blessing can be greater than this in one political season.

After benefitting from the cash, expensive drinks, domestic and wild animal proceeds of individual and group consultations, the stakeholders, I was reliably informed, again gathered the aspirants in an over N1.5m fund raising ‘ceremony’ at N50,000 and N20,000 individual charge for chairmanship and councillorship aspirants respectively, just for the purpose of issuing clearance to them. Aside that, I also heard there was a contest on whose ‘landing’ would be the highest; and in this contest, “the king makers” made a separate N5m or thereabout. POLITCAL OFFICES FOR SALE- that is how I have chosen to title this movie.

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Sadly, the youth who should be rising against these acts which constitute extra costs of running elections, are also busy scrambling for their own share of the proceeds. On the one hand, they are, of course, the ones making the campaign train of the aspirants thick. Their reward? They will have bottles of beer emptied into their stomachs, as well as a little tip as transport fare to take home. They call it transport fare to excuse its coming in miserable and derisory sums. While on the other hand, they are a major part of congregation of the “party”, and they will have a fraction falling from the party’s pulpit to share.

I hope they have gathered enough to last them for the next three years, because now that they are indirectly selling off their monthly allocations and right to demand for accountability, no one is complaining of a chairman or councilor not taking his calls after assuming office. Soon after elections, when petitions and complaints about how a chairman is not attending to their welfare will start flying, I will not hesitate to testify to having witnessed them collect their empowerment packages prior to the election. I sure will appear in any public court to testify that the eventual winners of the ongoing contest contributed cash to their business grants, donated drinks to aid them open liquor shops, as well as goats and cows to aid them start livestock businesses.

While they are enjoying the fun of maximizing profits, I have taken my own fun watching the drama unfold scene after scene; but whoever took us to this level of doom will never go unpunished. It is disheartening that none of these old and young men and women seem to care about the fate of Mkpat Enin after the elections, as long as their shameless desires for immediate gains are met. When the old is neither showing regard to his grey hairs nor the future of his children, and the young is so unconcerned about his future, who then will have the moral standing to keep the political officers constantly on working toes? Which moral grounds will they stand to demand accountability on how the collective wealth of the area is spent?

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It is funny, very funny that a clearance issuing ‘ceremony’ that would have provided a better opportunity for the said party and its stakeholders to thoroughly scrutinize the office seekers, was rather converted to a fund-raising ceremony. For instance, someone who had the privilege of leading the area as transition committee chairman for more than a year is seeking same office in elective capacity, yet, none of them was interested in knowing how she used the first privilege in bettering the living conditions of the collective masses, and give us reasons to give her the second and greater privilege she seeks. Aside her, there are others in the queue who held one office or the other either in an elected council or transition committee. Did they bother asking questions bothering on their faithfulness in the little they were given, so as to assure us of their faithfulness should they get much they are now seeking for?

Still in that queue of chairmanship aspirants, a former chairman of PDP who supported efforts to force a former disaster we had as council chairman on us as representative in the state house of assembly, is now seeking to lead us as chairman. Despite that, by supporting that disaster for a higher office, he had impressed upon us that he was an accomplice to that disaster, no stakeholder is interested in questioning him on why the people should not fear for their collective wealth and chances of progress with him at the helm of affairs, after supporting a man who led the area through years of unprecedented waste and recklessness. Who has such time to waste, when there is so much cash in the air for grabs?

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My worry is not about those in the out-ageing generation, but the succeeding and younger generations that are unwittingly helping in the ruining of their future. I am worried about my generation for not realizing that Mkpat Enin has been this backward in development because leaders are chosen without proper scrutiny. Everyone seems too complacent in this redundancy to agitate for a genuine change, a convert reason we keep having misfits occupying our political offices. With the situation of things, the status quo is likely to hold sway in a few more years. Such a dispiriting realization.

Well, an Ibibio adage goes: ”atok ikim inyang i’si’duoko’duok; edem ette mm’inwongo, edem eka eya enwong.” This translates in English thus: “he who urinates in a river is not wasting it; if his paternal relatives do not drink of it, his maternal relatives will.” So, for the purveyors of this evil virus of greed, who feel they have nothing to care about because they have prospered above being affected by the resultant effects of their avaricious disposition, my consolation is that either of their paternal or maternal relatives will be there to partake in the banquet of the negative outcome.

Ubong Sampson (08021419939) writes in from Ata Idung Minya, Mkpat Enin LGA.

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Revolutionizing Global Cryptocurrency Exchange And E-Trade With Binocoin

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Since the advent of the distributed ledger technology, blockhain and it disruptive ability has overtaken the world of finance, different cryptocurrency exchanges have sprouted.

However, contrary to the fulfilling experience that hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrency exchange users enjoyed in the past years, there have been lots of hiccups rocking the exchange world lately, such as major exchanges locking users accounts for months, others prohibiting new users from creating accounts to stories of crash, hacks, and loss of funds and wire transfers, most at the detriment and expense of the users. Also, majority of these exchanges only operate as either crypto to crypto exchange or crypto to fiat exchange thus making transaction charge bite off a huge chunk of the user’s fund.

Fortunately, a next generation solution that will put an end to the plague caused by the current system is about to be launched. This solution is proffered by Binocoin platform, a dedicated two-way cryptocurrency exchange that doubles as an e-trade platform and aims to revolutionize the current cryptocurrency exchange world. The platform aims to change the status quo with it token called BINO, a peer-to-peer token that will be operated and protected with the cryptographic technology of the Ethereum blockchain.

By changing the current status quo, exchange and e-trade can be carried out using the platform’s solution and dedicated escrow system at very low fee and with an amazing enterprise grade security. The goal is simple; creation of an exchange and e-trade ecosystem that operates in a democratic manner. With Binocoin, platform users can carry out their transaction with ease and at the speed of light. All thanks to the ethereum blockchain that provides a peer-to-peer transaction means that is tamper-proof.

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Crypto-to-Crypto Exchange

As a crypto-to-crypto exchange, Binocoin platform will enable a seamless peer-to-peer exchange and trading of cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency at very low remittance fee. It is designed to enable spot trading of cryptocurrencies with great speed, flexibility, and security. Supported cryptocurrencies on the platform includes:

  • Binocoin (Bino)
  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • ZCash (ZEC)

Crypto-to-Fiat Exchange

Binocoin will also act as a peer-to-peer crypto-to-fiat exchange platform where users can convert their cryptocurrency to fiat (mainly USD) at reduced transaction fee. This exchange is aimed to be a real time market center and everyone will be protected by the escrow system

E-trade with Binocoin

Although anybody from anywhere in the world can put up their product or service without needing physical space and shoppers can easily check for the availability of any product without shuttling between shelves, nor need to worry about the capacity of their cart. However, despite the internet’s monumental effort in eliminating geographical barriers and inventing a whole new online experience, e-trade is still dogged by the same problems hounding traditional brick-and-mortar outlets; reliable payment processing method, service guarantee, customer protection and speed among others

The platform understands that to truly reinvent the current global e-trade system, immediate solution must be provided using a peer-to-peer e-trade method. The platform also has an escrow system in place. This system receives payment made by the seller and only releases it to seller if the buyer is satisfied or if every aspect of their agreement is fulfilled.

 

Binocoin e-trade option aims to offer the following:

  • Genuine product and service sales
  • Security of transactions
  • Speed of processing; and
  • Convenience
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All of which are the necessary recipe to maintain trust and ensure satisfaction between buyers and sellers.

Upcoming ICO and Token Sale

The binocoin platform’s token (BINO) is based on Ethereum solidity (ERC20) and will be used as the primary currency for transaction on the platform alongside Bitcoin, Ethereum and others as mentioned in the white paper and since it is smart contract backed, it is bound to fulfill the terms of engagements on the platform, including protecting every parties in the transaction process from breach of trust and fraud as laid down by the escrow system.

Of the 100,000,000 BINO tokens to be created, 10,000,000 will be sold to early adopters and investors at a discount of 20% and tokens may be purchased with Ethereum. The pre-sale begins on the 26th of March through 9th of April and it is advised that you join to enjoy the bonus and discount. After the presale, remaining tokens will be sold in the ICO crowdsale from 30th of April to 18th of June at different prices as shown on the website.

Every exchange and trade on the platform is recorded to the Blockchain and backed by legally binding smart contracts to ensure the veracity of every transaction, build users’ reputation, and secure all assets and values on the network. For more information about the upcoming ICO, bounty offers and more follow the following social media channels: TwitterFacebook and YouTube.

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President Buhari’s Unenviable Gritty Battle To Cap Corruption By Peter Claver Oparah

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It is doubtful if Buhari anticipated the intensity of the fightback he is facing today as he engages deeply-entrenched shibboleths, knights of the rotten order and perpetrators, beneficiaries, minions and menservants of corruption.

No doubt, President Buhari is fighting a battle of his life. It is not clear if he anticipated the kind of bloody, gritty battle he is facing as he tries to clean the egregiously stained Augean stable of fifth and downright rot he inherited on May 29, 2015. It is doubtful if Buhari anticipated the intensity of the fightback he is facing today as he engages deeply-entrenched shibboleths, knights of the rotten order and perpetrators, beneficiaries, minions and menservants of corruption.

It is debatable if Buhari saw the near total coalition of critical institutions like the press, the judiciary, the security forces, even religious bodies and in fact, the Nigerian bureaucracy in the determined fightback to ensure the fangs of corruption are not extricated from the country’s body polity. Buhari has done so well to cap the notorious wellheads of corruption which have been responsible for the growth of corruption in Nigeria for several decades. What remains is to battle the mindset of Nigerians, which have been made to accept corruption as a normal and approved way of life for several decades. It is a hard task, as has been shown by the syndicated efforts to arrest the fight against corruption and frustrate it so as to allow for the luxuriating of corruption. 

It is not easily discernable if President Buhari anticipated the conscription of an easily impressionable citizenry in the battle to stop the anti-corruption war. It is not possible that Buahri appreciated the simple-minded Nigerian populace, easily mobilized by whiff of bread and butter to turn against those that want to liberate them. It is simply frustrating and says a lot why the fight against corruption flickered so inanimately before Buhari came.

Let us look at it critically. The world knows that, for the first time, Nigeria is making a huge impression in the war against corruption. The world knows the negative impacts of corruption and the world knows that corruption practically hobbled the Nigerian state, destroyed its future and potentials, guzzled hundreds of trillions of Naira oil wealth and left the citizenry abjectly pauperized, sowed dread and want in a country that is blessed with tremendous resources. The world knows that Buhari inherited an unenviable economy that was tottering on the brink of collapse when Buhari came, with the treasury practically emptied despite a long run of oil windfall, all the sectors in a huge mess, the states bankrupt and couldn’t meet minimum obligations to workers, oil, the mainstay of the economy practically going for free, a deliberate sabotage of the oil sector leading to a freeze of output, and with no investment on regenerative capital of the country. The world knew the comprehensive steps Buhari took to wean government from the grandiose, elephantine structure he inherited and run a lean, Spartan government that leaves no room for the kind of corruption that has wrecked this country.

At every point of the tortuous, Spartan journey he had undertaken for the last two years to steer governance away from the destructive paths of corruption, Buhari has drawn raucous applause from the international community that appreciates the collateral damage corruption has done to the country as well as its ruinous effects in the outside world. So, the world has not failed to serenade President Buhari for not only deciding to fight corruption but adopting several means to cap its rampaging wellheads. Recently, the World Bank released a report that showed Nigeria exited the top ten most corruption nations on earth for the first time since the dawn of democracy in 1999! This is no mean feat in a nation where corruption has so ravaged the deep crevices of the state that it had blossomed into a huge industry before Buhari came.

But the diverse interests that have consistently benefited from corruption have refused to give up and with each onslaught dealt by the regime on the heart of corruption, these interests have become hysterical with multi-layered tactics to arrest the fight, mislead and misinform the populace and anchor the resurgence of their sorry political capital on such sly means.

Yes, corruption was the biggest industry before the coming of Buhari and a providential oil boom that saw hundreds of billions of dollars accrue to the country, supervised a blossoming of this decibel. Politicians and civil servants served as the main vortex of this corruption industry and it was not difficult for the torrid aftermaths to seep down to the civil populace who were not even hooked to the formal sector of the economy.

The huge corruption complex powered a life of opulence, vanity and waste for those who fortunately got hooked to the corruption grid while ensuring a total decapitation of the lives of those that were not so fortunate. Pillaging state resources was legit and punishment for corruption existed as a mockery to the state. Those that cornered and stole state resources became lionized and this triggered a rat race to access state resources and power for the purpose they served in enhancing acceptance in the putrid larger society. A life of profligacy and wanton waste boomed for those that have access to the treasury. On the other hand, the masses suffered, even in the face of tremendous oil boom, infrastructures went decrepit, unemployment soared to uncontrollable level, insecurity thrived and the state was soon overran by a leviathan that threatened even those that stole state resources and used same for their selfish benefits. National savings were stolen with reckless impunity.

Because state funds were freely stolen, the masses had to depend on the morsels that trickled down from the tables of those that looted the treasury. Oil was booming and the petro dollars were flowing in so the trickles sufficed for the poor masses that were content with the beggarly leftovers from the table of the corrupt. Because no standards existed for him to measure his life, the citizens were content with what they culled from the corrupt conduct of statecraft. Meanwhile, all the infrastructures in Nigeria; power, roads, hospitals, etc. went down emphatically in an oil boom! Life was tottering on the Hobbesian fringe but the citizenry had no option than to endure their sordid fate.

And then Buhari came! He came on the roller coaster of fighting corruption and this was the popular mantra the parched and famished citizenry bought and railroaded him to power. For any meaningful fight against corruption to take place, Buhari had to dismantle the ramshackle structures that flowered corruption and this was what he did and then bedlam was let loose. That action revealed that the country practically lived on corruption and its trickle down factors. All the hues and cries one hears against the anti-corruption war are anchored by those who were dislocated by the anti-corruption battle. Two years, Buhari has so fumigated the Nigerian public sector that Nigerians are now reticent to carry out the usual corrupt acts that riddled the system before he came. The treasury is now treated as a sacred coven and no more whimsically raided at will by sundry interests that draw legitimacy from the government and party in power.

Today, those political jobbers, apex leaders, godfathers, stakeholders, freeloaders and all manners of sundry politicians who hitherto had free feel of state resources have been chased away and made to adopt other means of livelihood as living off the state treasury has stopped. Those top civil servants who devised several accounts to channel government revenue to their private pockets have lost those fonts of corruption. Those politicians and civil servants who connive each year to share out yearly ministerial budgets have been thrown out of job. Those legislators whose main brief is colluding with politicians and civil servants to pillage the treasury have been forced to devise other means of making money.

Those civil servants who had hundreds of accounts for the purpose of appropriating the salaries of hundreds of thousands of ghost workers, have been busted and those loopholes plugged. The politicians who take night buses to Abuja and return the next day as multi billionaires, those politicians who loiter around the precincts of Aso Rock and corner multi-billion Naira phantom contracts have been chased away. Those who ran lucrative pimping businesses around the various seats of power have been rendered jobless. Those who salt humongous stolen wealth in several foreign bank accounts have been put on perpetual run as the government tries to track them and their loots. The banks have become better policed and the implementation of dormant policies have ensured that those who revel in stealing from the common barn have little hiding spaces.

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With the coming of Buhari, politics has ceased to be a lucrative business and many people who spent fortunes running for offices with the hope of recouping from the public treasury as was the fad before May 2015, have realized they made a bad investment. With Buhari’s war against corruption, those who milk parastatals and rendered them huge liabilities and feeding troughs have been put out of business and hitherto dormant parastatals are returning handsome turnovers to the public coffers. It had been literally a scorched earth regime for those who have anchored their lives on living off the state, as well as for their dependents, hirelings and subalterns. Life of vanity and unnecessary ostentation has been curbed and those who depend on the flow of stolen and illicit cash for their livelihood and that of their businesses have been forced to devise more accountable ways of surviving!

With these scenarios, it is easy to understand why Buhari and his government have been so loathed and despised by those who have known no other life than salting public funds to their coded accounts both within and without Nigeria. With the huge war chest they have stolen from Nigeria, they have found it easy to mobilize the poor masses to rebel against their redemption just by deploying the flawed logic of enjoying more from the fruits of corruption. Like the Israelites of old, the hapless masses have found themselves being enticed with the meat of slavery to oppose the fight against corruption and against a government that is even reticent to spend public funds on legitimate demands of government, it is all too easy to mobilize Nigerians around a stinking mess of corrupt porridge. That is the burden Buhari faces today battling forces of rot; hell bent on frustrating the restoration of a decent and vile-free regime.

The mobilization is extensive and covers all facets of Nigerian life and involves numerous strategies and all are aimed towards arresting the fight against corruption. From the distressed politician that watches in awe as the age-old corrupt practices that thrived the game of politics in Nigeria, wither off, to the elected public official that finds out that he no longer takes liberty with the public purse. From the media practitioner that knows no other means of sustenance than the corrupt patronage he receives from politicians to the clergyman who ministers to the corrupt needs of questionably rich money bags and politicians. From the civil servant who had been forced to depend on his legitimate wage to the businessman whose business is tied to illicit patronage from those that stole public fund. From the layabout who feeds from the corrupt politicians and civil servants to the traders whose hopes of making it is anchored on milking those that stole from the treasury, it is all tales of woes. The bottom line is that corruption was intricately webbed to existence in Nigeria and the task of battling it will naturally exert deep bruises on a sizeable chunk of the population that is linked to it for survival. That is why it had been easy to mobilize Nigerians who are collective victims of corruption to fight against Buhari’s battle to end the pestilence.

But the above scenario only reflects the short term effects of a battle against corruption. The long term benefits trump these temporary deficits and this has been the reason President Buhari has remained defiant in the face of the extensive onslaught being waged against his efforts to stymie corruption. That the nation is, for the first time, investing and building durable infrastructures and regenerative capital even in the face of sparse revenue should serve as a pointer that the fight against corruption bodes only positive impacts on the country. That the present government is even clearing age-old huge debts and humongous liabilities incurred by previous governments during periods of boom should inform Nigerians that only a prudent and corruption-free management of the country’s resources holds the key not only to the growth of the country but the sustenance of policies that would power real growth of the economy and not the bubble of an economy that rests squarely on the sale of oil.

The saving grace that gives hope that the war on graft is winnable is the single-mindedness and determination of Buhari not to give up on the war on corruption. The bright light at the end of the Nigerian tunnel is his refusal to be badgered to surrender to the forces of corruption who have spared nothing to wear him down through various means, including propaganda and misinformation.  The end result is the array of positive economic indices that are coming from every reputable body on the country’s economy as well as the global show of confidence in the new Nigerian economy. These can only get better to prove that corruption had been the single most portent ennui holding down the growth of the country and its annihilation, as is being done by the present government, holds the key to real and sustainable growth of the country.
 
 
Peter Claver Oparah writes from Ikeja, Lagos. You can reach him at peterclaver2000@yahoo.com​.

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#AnambraDecides: Police Warn IPOB, Deploy 26,000 Officers, 15 Gunboats

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-According to the statement, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Department of Operations of the Force has been deployed to the state and will be assisted by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police and three Commissioners of Police to be in charge of each Senatorial District.

The Nigeria Police Force has deployed 26,000, 15 gunboats and 303 patrol vehicles for the Anambra State gubernatorial election scheduled for 18 November. This was disclosed in a statement by Mr. Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer.

According to the statement, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Department of Operations of the Force has been deployed to the state and will be assisted by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police and three Commissioners of Police to be in charge of each Senatorial District.

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“In order to ensure adequate security and safety of lives and properties before, during and after the elections, the Inspector General of Police has graciously approved deployment of additional 26,000 Police personnel, comprising the Police Special Forces, Police Mobile Force, the Counter- Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), the Force Marine Police, Conventional Policemen, the Force Armament Unit, personnel from Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), Mounted Troops, the attack and Sniffer Dogs Section, Police Gun Boats, Police Helicopters and Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) to Anambra State and most of these personnel are already on the ground,” the statement said.

It added that the deployed equipment will be deployed to cover entire state, including riverine areas and difficult terrains. In addition, other security and safety agencies, which are members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the state are also deployed to complement the Police.                               

“Four policemen are deployed to each polling unit along with personnel of other security and safety agencies. No armed security personnel will be allowed within the polling units. Armed Police detachments on patrol vehicles are going to patrol the streets and other locations throughout the state to prevent crime and intervene to quell any violence that may occur during the election,” the statement further said.

To further ensure peaceful conduct of the election, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim K. Idris, and Chairman, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) will meet stakeholders and political parties, their flag bearers before the date of the election.

The statement warned that Police personnel deployed for the election must be polite and civil, but firm.        

“They are to provide adequate security for the electorate, INEC officials, election materials, election observers and other individuals and bodies that have statutory roles in the conduct of the election, at the polling booths, collation centers, and INEC offices in Anambra State throughout the period of the election,” stated the Police. 

The Police also announced that vehicular movement in the state between 12 midnight on 17 November till after the voting period on the day of the election.  Government agencies and personnel on essential duties and services, however, will be allowed passage within the period.                            

“Security identification tag will be provided for all the security and safety agencies, INEC officials, election observers/monitors and others that have statutory duties to carry out in the election. The security personnel deployed will only operate within the area they are posted for the election,” the Police said.

The statement also declared that  Commissioners of Police and personnel in the states contiguous to Anambra State have been put on red-alert not to allow an influx of miscreants and thugs into Anambra State. Also, a broad-spectrum security threats assessment is in progress.                              

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“All the identified flashpoints, trouble spots and other perceived violence/vulnerable areas in the state have been profiled and appropriate pragmatic strategies and tactics have been implemented to checkmate and tackle them ahead of the election.Consequent on the renewed threat by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other affiliate groups to disrupt the election, the Force has deployed Special Police Forces, Police Mobile Force, Specially Trained Counter-Terrorism Unit and other intelligence and tactical Squads to deal decisively with IPOB,” the statement added.

The Police assured voters of adequate security, warning IPOB to stay off polling units. The Force also warned political parties, traditional rulers, community leaders, parents and guardians to advise their followers and wards to be law-abiding or face the full weight of the law.

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