The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has warned criminals to stay away from the Nov. 11 Imo governorship election or face the wrath of the law.
Mr Egbetokun gave the warning on Thursday in Owerri at a meeting of stakeholders ahead of the governorship poll in the state.
The police boss said anyone seen with arms on the day of election would be treated as a criminal.
“We are aware that criminals who may want to come out with their arms on the day of election are around.
“They have used those arms on security agents before and we are still looking for them; we may be lucky to catch them on the day of the election,” Egbetokun said.
He also advised parents to warn their children and wards not to be used to disrupt the election.
“Similarly, I want to warn that supporters of candidates in this election should also behave themselves.
“Anyone who comes out to disrupt the election will be dealt with,” he warned.
He also warned police officers not to escort any politician on election day.
He assured political parties that the Nigeria police force and other security agencies would be impartial in the election.
According to him, the police do not belong to any political party, our job is to provide security during the election and provide protection for everyone coming out for the election.
He underscored the need to embrace peaceful election in the state, noting that the heavy deployment of security officers was to give confidence to voters and other election officials.
Mr Egbetokun said: “You have seen the security men deployed to the state; they are here to protect you.
“Nobody should be intimidated by the presence of security officers. When you see them armed, the arms they carry are meant to protect you from harm.
“Anywhere you see security personnel, please be comfortable.
“They are your friends and have been lectured, trained and told to always assist you in your difficulties.
“Make an official report of any bad conduct you observe on the part of any security agent in the state.
“The Commissioner of Police and commanders of other security agencies are always on ground to listen to your complaints.
“If any of our members is found wanting, I assure you that he/she will not be spared because we will not condone any act of indiscipline by any member of security agencies deployed for the election,” he stated.
He reiterated the commitment of the security agencies to ensuring free and fair elections and dismissed insinuations that security agents were deployed to support a particular political party.
Also speaking, the chairman, Imo state council of traditional rulers, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, appealed to the people of the state to give peace a chance and eschew violence.
Mr Okeke, who called for a free and fair election, further prayed for the peaceful conduct of the poll.