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Military, police deploy 3500 for Ondo by-election

A total of 3,500 security personnel have been deployed by the police, the Navy and Army commands in Ondo State to ensure adequate security in today’s bye-election in Ilaje/Ese-Odo to fill the House of Representatives seat for the two local governments.

Of the number, the Ondo State Police Command is contributing the largest number of 3,000 men, who have taken their respective positions since Friday.

Police spokesman, Wole Ogodo, noted that the policemen have been fully briefed on their assignment and were expected to ensure that peace reigned during today’s election.

He said, “We are fully ready and our men have received their final address this morning (Friday) and are already on their way to Igbokoda and Igbekebo, headquarters of the two local governments of the federal constituency.

“We want a free and fair election and we are going to ensure that there is a level playing field for all the parties.”

Commanding Officer of the Forward Operation Base of the Nigerian Navy in Igboka, Navy Capt. Nji Onwuegbu, said the Navy had 200 of its personnel participating in providing security for the election.

He said, “The business of the military is to ensure security of lives and property in the country and we will be doing just that during the election.”

He said it would not be partisan, but would ensure that his men carried out their duties with patriotism and efficiency.

Although the military would not confirm the number of soldiers deployed for the election, our correspondent learnt that about 300 men from the 323 Artillery Brigrade would be involved.

The assurances given by the security agencies stemmed from the recent outcry by the Peoples Democratic Party that there were plots by the ruling Labour Party to use the security agencies to rig the election.

PDP, the foremost opposition party in the state, through its Chairman, Ebenezer Alabi, alleged that the ruling party was about to reenact the irregularities of the last two elections where the military men were used to disrupt the election process and turn the tables in their favour.

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