By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
Ahead of Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Kwara State Governor, and Chairman of the Kwara State Security Council, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has assured residents of the state of their safety before, during and after the elections.
Speaking during the State Security Council meeting on Thursday, Governor Ahmed urged residents to conduct their lawful activities and come out en masse to fulfil their civic obligation to elect leaders of their choice without fear for their security as adequate arrangements are in place for their safety.
According to him, while voters should be vigilant and ensure their votes count, they must do so within the ambit of the law and electoral regulations.
Alhaji Ahmed urged residents of the state not to be alarmed by the heavy deployment of security agents to the state ahead of the elections as he has received the assurances of the heads of security agencies that their forces are in the state only for election purposes.
Governor Ahmed assured that, based on these guarantees, no one will be unlawfully arrested or harassed by any security agency on account of their political affiliation or party membership in the course of fulfilling their civic obligations to vote. Additionally, security agencies, he said, will neither interfere with the elections nor prevent anyone from fulfilling their constitutional right to vote.
Alhaji Ahmed advised parents and guardians to keep their under-aged children away from the vicinity of polling areas to prevent their co-option into unlawful activities during the elections.
He urged citizens and residents of the state to uphold the state’s reputation for harmony and rancour-free elections by avoiding actions capable of disrupting public order and by obeying the rules guiding the conduct of the elections.
Security agencies, he added, have also been mandated by the State Security Council to clamp down on thuggery, cultism and other forms of criminality across the state so that all eligible voters can exercise their franchise in peace and safety.
The State Security Council also approved the restriction of movement on election day between 7 am and the end of voting and urged those who live far from their polling booth to make sure they arrive the polling areas before the restriction commences.
The Security Council meeting was attended by the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, Director of State Security Services, Brigade Commander, Sobi Barracks, and heads of the Navy, Air Force and Civil Defence in the state.
Also in attendance were the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Sola Gold, Chief of Staff Government House, Alhaji Yusuf Baba Wahab, Special Adviser, Security, and other top government functionaries.