As the rerun gubernatorial elections in parts of Bayelsa State on Saturday January 9, 2016, draws closer, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Solomon E. Arase, has reassured that adequate security logistics and manpower have been strategically deployed to achieve a most conducive electioneering atmosphere.
A statement by ACP Olabisi Kolawole, the Force Public Relations Officer which communicated the IGP’s assurances also said that the Police has commenced extensive security operations in the State, including the deployment of plain cloth detectives and surveillance helicopters for aerial patrols.
It said that gunboats and speed boats will complement the Police Marine Unit to convey security personnel and election materials to riverine communities, stressing that armed personnel from the Police Mobile Force, Special Protection Unit as well as Counter Terrorism Unit of the Force are on ground to support the ongoing security operations in the State.
In addition, the IGP has deployed a Deputy Inspector-General of Police to supervise security arrangements. He will be assisted by one Assistant Inspector-General of Police and three Commissioners of Police. Over 5000 conventional Policemen have also been deployed for the election duty.
The IGP has also placed an order banning movements in and out of the LGAs where elections will hold with effect from 6am to 6pm on Saturday January 9, 2016. However, the statement assured, persons on essential duties such as Ambulance service providers, INEC officials, on-duty security men, accredited election monitors/observers, accredited journalists, are not affected by this order.
While expressing his regrets over the inconveniences that road users and the general public may suffer as a result of this restriction, the IGP appealed for the understanding and cooperation of all that will be affected, as the restriction is essentially to ensure the security of citizens, election officials and materials. It is a strategy to curtail the influx and movement of undesirable and criminal elements in and out of the affected Local Government Areas before and during the election.
The citizens of Bayelsa State are, therefore, enjoined to come out enmasse to exercise their civic rights, as the Police, assisted by other security agencies, have mapped out plans to ensure that persons who are out to cast their votes, do so without fear of molestation from any quarter. They are advised to shun violence and all forms of thuggery, as the full weight of the law will take its course on anyone apprehended.