Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State on Sunday advised the people of the state to remain calm and go about their lawful businesses, following the massive deployment of soldiers in the state capital, Ilorin, and environs.
The governor, in a special announcement, said troops had been deployed in all the 16 local government areas of the state to maintain law and order during the forthcoming general elections.
The sighting of soldiers in strategic locations in the state capital had raised fears among residents.
However, the governor assured people of the state the soldiers were on the streets to protect and guarantee their safety.
Ahmed’s statement read, “My good people of Kwara State. For many years, we have lived in harmony, regardless of our differences. Our people are hospitable and peaceful. And so, as we prepare to vote for leaders of our choice in the forthcoming elections, I urge you to remain calm and law-abiding. The Army and other security agencies have been deployed to all the 16 local governments to keep peace and protect you. Your safety is guaranteed. Perform your civic duties without fear. All you need to do is cast your vote, wait for the counting and return home.
“We are a peaceful people and we will remain peaceful long after the elections have come and gone”.
Meanwhile, the Army-Public Relations Officer of 22 Armoured Brigade, Nigerian Army, Sobi, Ilorin, Lt. Weri Finikumor, said the soldiers were deployed in Ilorin and the other local government areas of the state for the elections.
According to him, they were deployed to maintain security and not to meddle with the conduct of the election.
Finikumor, however, pointed out that the soldiers would be 300 meters away from polling booths and would not be involved in anything pertaining to election materials, including ballot papers and boxes.
He said the police were the ones to be involved in security around the polling units, while soldiers may intervene on invitation of the police in case of any major security threat which was beyond the police.