Members of the Senate on Tuesday expressed doubts about the number of policemen allegedly deployed to maintain peace and order in Ekiti during the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The Nigeria Police Force had said that it deployed 30,000 personnel to Ekiti, but the Senate noted that the number might be a ploy to harvest a slush fund for unofficial purpose.
The Senate also argued that a third of the deployed personnel could have been sent to combat killings in states suffering from the attacks of armed herdsmen and militias.
The lawmakers, who expressed doubts about the number, also called for accountability in the payment of allowances to the policemen deployed for the electoral exercise.
Leading the discussion on the issue, the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, argued that President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress would oppose the massive deployment.
Na’Allah said, “They will use public funds to galvanise 30,000 policemen to supervise an election in Ekiti, while they could not mobilise 10,000 men to stop the killings in Zamfara and other places.
“Our party, the APC that I represent, will frown at this. It is not part of our manifesto; it is not what we promised the people and I am sure that the President himself knows that this is not acceptable.
“If there is a situation where killings are happening, we will not have 10,000 policemen. But when an election is going on, we will have 30,000 policemen. I don’t like that situation. I abhor it and I think that does not represent what we stand for as a party.
“Therefore, we will seek the indulgence of our colleagues to reform this institution that is called the Nigeria Police.”
In his ruling, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, also expressed concerns over the number said to have been deployed.
“While expressing doubts about the 30,000 officers said to have been deployed, he called for transparency in the payment of allowances of the policemen.
Ekweremadu said, “In response to this your last statement, I am also worried about the fact that we have 30,000 policemen we could deploy in a state for an election.
“And the other issue here is the issue of sincerity in deploying 30,000 policemen. If we have 30,000 policemen and they will ensure security of lives and property, and ensure a free and fair election, there is no problem with that.
“But sometimes, some of these statistics are misleading and it only goes to count when allowances are to be paid and nobody is sure how many people actually participated.
“If we have 30,000 policemen and we can deploy them and pay them, and it is accounted for, I have no problem with that.
“But it is doubtful that we have 30,000 policemen that we can deploy in the state because of election. But somehow, allowances will be made (budgeted) for 30,000.
“We need to ensure accountability, especially when making statements on the number of people we are deploying to work in any of these places.
“This is important, not just dropping figures.”