The Head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Observation Mission (EOM) to Ghana, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday, paid a visit to the Ghana Police Service headquarters in Accra.
The meeting was, among other things, to ascertain the preparedness of the country’s security apparatus ahead of Monday’s elections in the West African nation.
Welcoming the EOM delegation at the Ghana Police headquarters in Accra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Dr Samuel Otu-Nyarko, expressed his gratitude to the international community for showing concern about Ghana’s peace and security during the upcoming elections.
He disclosed to the EOM delegation that the Ghana Police Service in collaboration with other security services including the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), and the Ghana Ambulance Service (GAS) have set up a National Joint Operation Centre (NJOC) to maintain peace during and after the elections.
Dr Otu-Nyarko said the NJOC has so far deployed some 2,137 security service personal from the Ghana Police headquarters to 6,178 flashpoints across the country to avert any unforeseen happenings that could jeopardize the electoral process.
The head of mission and the former president of Liberia, Madam Sirleaf praised Ghana for having a record for peaceful, satisfactory elections and commended the country’s security service for being proactive with the setting up of the NJOC ahead of the upcoming elections.
She, however, inquired about the nature of the NJOCs operations on the day of elections.
“How will your team be positioned around polling stations and will they be armed with heavy ammunitions, with tanks?” Ms Sirleaf asked. “Clearly, you are prepared but what could go wrong?”
Dr Otu-Nyarko explained that, generally, there will be at least one police personal armed with a light weapon at every polling station and not the military. He said that the NJOC will not deploy tanks to any electoral area as that could intimidate voters.
“We have identified possible threats and we have made provisions for events where things can go wrong. Also with the stakeholder consultations we have had, we don’t forsee anything going wrong,” Dr. Otu-Nyarko added.
On his part, Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Ghana, Ambassador Baba Gana Wakil, also applauded Ghana’s security service for their preparedness. He, however, asked how the NJOC will ensure that over vigilance on the part of the security services does not deter people from voting.
“We won’t be there to intimidate anyone but to maintain peace and to protect voters,” Dr. Otu-Nyarko answered.
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