Minister defends use of military for polls

ADESIYANTHE Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan, Tuesday, justified deployment of soldiers for the March 28 and April 11 general elections, saying it would compliment the efforts of police personnel to supervise the election and provide the needed security to ensure free, fair and credible polls.

He said deployment of soldiers and other security agencies during the poll is inevitable in view of the shortfall in number of policemen to effectively police the country .

Adesiyan allayed fear in some quarters about possible use of soldiers by government in power to terrorise opposition, saying soldiers would not be allowed to move near polling units but would restrict themselves to providing security.

The minister, who spoke in Osogbo, Osun State at a sensitization forum by the state chapter of Association of Veteran Journalists, accused those opposed to the use of soldiers to supervise election of insincerity, noting that there is nowhere in Africa that soldiers are not used to supervise elections.

He urged policemen planning to go on strike over welfare matters to have a rethink, stressing that the federal authorities were already taking measures to address their grievances. He admitted that some serving and retired policemen who were promoted have not been paid their allowances, pointing out that the current administration inherited the challenge.

Adesiyan disclosed that the Federal Government, in partnership with the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police, had trained the Nigeria policemen in preparation for the general elections. He said the training and retraining exercise focused on crowd control before, during and after the election in the country.

While noting that the present administration headed by President Goodluck Jonathan had done lot at transforming the police system to boost their performances at all time, he explained that the government had purchased 5,000 operational vehicles which are being distributed to different police formations.

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