The United States has threatened to impose visa ban on those who instigate violence in the November 6 Anambra governorship election.
The warning was given in a statement issued by the US Mission in Nigeria on Wednesday.
“The United States looks forward to a gubernatorial election in Anambra State on November 6 that is peaceful and transparent, with results that accurately reflect the will of the state’s residents.
“We will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere with the democratic process or instigate violence against civilian populations before, during, or after the elections.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related viole
Baba, who addressed a stakeholders’ meeting in Awka on Wednesday organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, said the arrangements covered land, sea and air.
He said that 63 units of Mobile Police Force patrol teams have been deployed to check the entrance and exit points across the state.
According to him, all arms of Nigeria security agencies including Navy, Air Force, Army and other paramilitary agencies are involved.
He said: “We have enough helicopters, speed boats and vehicles for security operatives to man the entire state”, he said.
Baba said that security operatives have identified all the flash points and have made adequate preparations.
“Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations also may lead to restrictions on family members. We call on citizens, electoral officials, party members, and security force personnel to do their part in ensuring a credible and secure electoral process.”
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, has said that adequate security arrangements have been made for the conduct of November 6 governorship election in Anambra.
He explained that the tight security measure was to guide against report that a group in the area had planned to disrupt the election.
While responding to a question, the IGP said that all the security operatives involved in the election have be advised on the need to be civil.
“We have advised all the operatives deployed for the election to be civil because they are not the only organisation working during the exercise.
“The instruction is clear to them that anybody accredited by INEC must be allowed to perform his or her duties without hiccup from the security operatives”, he said.
In his speech, the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission was prepared for the election.
He urged all the staff of the commission to abide by the rules of electoral conduct.
Yakubu, who described INEC workers as very strategic in the success of the election, warned that any body found scuttling the process would be made to face the law.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and member of National Peace Committee on Electoral Matters, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, said he was impressed with the level of security presence in Anambra.
Kukah told journalists on the sideline of the Women Development Center, Awka, that anyone who did not participate in the November 6 election cannot attribute it to poor security arrangement.
He said: “I encourage any electorate with the INEC voter’s card in the state to feel free and come out for the election”, he said.
The cleric said with the signing of peace accord that candidates will enter tomorrow, any violence coming from any political party, the candidate would be held responsible.
Again, ahead of November 6 governorship election, Anambra State government has declared today and tomorrow work-free days.
The government said the action will enable workers prepare for the Anambra polls.
The state governor, Willie Obiano, made the declaration during his interactive session with Anambra State workers on Tuesday at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat, Awka.
Obiano said, “It is to enable you, theworkerstotraveltoyour various voting places ahead of the November 6 elections.”
During the event, Obiano recalled that his administration had fulfilled his 2014 campaign promises to the workers and had improved the working condition of the civil service.
“Saturday, November 6 is the election. I urge you to come out en masse to exercise your franchise. The state is safe in all ramifications. Cast your vote to continue enjoying the prompt payment of salary and other benefits.
“Soludo knows how to develop resources for the welfare of workers. Soludo will do it even better,” Obiano said.
Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who is the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the election described the civil servants as the engine of every administration and pledged to implement his lofty manifesto that he presented to Ndi Anambra that included welfare of workers, promotion of education, health and youth productivity.
He said, “We will stand on the foundation already established by Governor Obiano to continue, complete, and consolidate on the achievements.”
He emphasised that he would collaborate with the workers to further improve on the conditions of service.
He continued, “We cannot owe salary. It is your right. Workers are very important to every administration. Teachers have very important roles in my manifesto. Teachers are the foundation of any nation.
“The quality of teachers and quality of teaching will determine the future of every state,” Soludo stressed.
The Head of Service, Mr. Harry Uduh, commended Obiano for his prompt intervention in the challenges of the civil servants.
He said the first point of call after his inauguration was to identify with civil servants. He said he has been prompt in payment of salaries, pension and gratuity and leave allowances.
“His administration engaged workers in training and retraining. He demonstrated his magnanimity several times in promoting workers welfare,” he said.
The Chairman, Association of Pensioners State Printing Corporation (Publishers of National Light newspapers) chapter, Mr. Anderson Ubani, and the Managing Director of the corporation, Sir. Chuka Nnabuife, hailed the administration’s intervention in making the newspaper to be pensionable in addition to other benefits to the workers.
Nnabuife said, “We will vote for APGA for what you have done for us at National Light newspapers.
“Under your administration, we have won several awards,’’ he said.
A Nollywood veteran actor, Chiwetalu Agu, said on the occasion that he worshipped Soludo like an idol, adding that Soludo is the solution to Anambra problems.
“The success of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration had been attributed to Soludo. He managed the economy of Nigeria and will consolidate the economy of Anambra State,” Agu said.
Obiano at the event presented awards to some dedicated workers.