Guber Elections: Police Restricts Vehicular Movement In Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa

….. roll out emergency numbers to report any security concerns during the election period.

Ahead of the off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States on November 11, 2023, the IGP has ordered a restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation from 12.01 a.m. to 6 p.m. on election day in the affected states, except those on essential services such as INEC officials, accredited electoral observers, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, firefighters, the media, etc.

While addressing the media on Tuesday at the Force Headquarters, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the order, which is part of measures emplaced to ensure a safe, secure, and conducive environment for the conduct of elections, is aimed at ensuring public order management, the safety of electorates, as well as assisting the security agencies ineffective policing, thereby preventing hoodlums and criminally-minded elements from disrupting the electoral process.

“On that note, residents and travellers in the neighbouring states should note and plan their movements to avoid any untold hardship during the election period, Adejobi said.

He also said that the IGP has deployed Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs) to oversee the security arrangements and ensure the elections run smoothly in the respective states. This added layer of supervision is intended to guarantee that the elections meet the highest standards of transparency and credibility.

“Therefore, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Department of Training and Development, DIG Frank Emeka Mba, mni, has been deployed to oversee elections in Imo State; DIG Habu Sani, in charge of the Department of Force Intelligence in Kogi State, and DIG Daniel Sokari-Pedro, psc (+), mni, is in charge of the Department of Information and Communication Technology at Bayelsa State.

The statement read, “The Nigeria Police Force has undertaken comprehensive preparations to ensure the success of the upcoming elections. We have strategically deployed our personnel to these states to provide security and maintain law and order throughout the electioneering process, following training on professionalism, neutrality, and best practices carried out for officers and men deployed for election duty. We aim to create an environment where all citizens can exercise their right to vote without fear or intimidation.

“Similarly, the Inspector General of Police has severally and continuously emphasised the dedication of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly under his watch, to the principles of free, fair, secure, and credible elections. The Nigeria Police Force will play a pivotal role in safeguarding the democratic process and upholding the integrity of these elections, as we are committed to ensuring that every eligible voter can participate in the electoral process without fear or hindrance.

“In a bid to ensure smooth electioneering processes, the Inspector-General of Police has ordered the distribution of an additional 220 operational vehicles, including water canons, armoured personnel carriers, gunboats for riverine areas, helmets, bulletproof vests, tear gas canisters, etc., to the three affected states to intensify security arrangements for the elections and augment the already deployed assets.

“Similarly, the IGP sternly warns all security aides and escorts to desist from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election, as anyone found flouting this directive will be severely sanctioned. He emphasises that only security personnel assigned explicitly to election duties are to be seen within and around the designated election booths and centres. Also, the ban on the unauthorised use of sirens, revolving lights, covered number plates, and tinted glasses is still in force, and violators would be sanctioned appropriately. All state-established and owned security outfits and organisations, quasi-security units, and privately owned guard and security outfits are also barred from participating in election security management.

“While empathising with well-meaning residents of the affected states on the inconveniences the restrictions may cause, the IGP urges all active electorates to be law-abiding and turn out en masse to exercise their franchise. He warns, however, that the Force will deal decisively with any individual or group that might want to test our common resolve and might to ensure a peaceful election. The IGP, therefore, encourages all electorates and party supporters and leaders to shun vote buying, vote selling, hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation, snatching of ballot boxes, and other criminal acts, as the Force and other security agencies, will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all violators of extant laws, most especially the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), are caused to face the full wrath of the law.

“The Nigeria Police Force is aware that it is essential for citizens to have quick access to security agencies in case of emergencies or to report any security concerns during the election period. Therefore, we have established dedicated emergency contact numbers that the public can use to reach out to the Joint Operation Room for the elections in each state. These numbers are:

Joint Operations Room, Imo State: 08034773600 or 08113659301.
Joint Operations Room, Kogi State, 07038329084
Joint Operations Room Bayelsa State: 07034578208, 09167322691
Other numbers will be rolled out as soon as they become active.

“In conclusion, the Inspector General of Police, in his quest for secure elections, has left no stone unturned to ensure that the Nigeria Police Force is well-prepared to protect the electoral process in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States. He assures that the NPF will continue to uphold the rule of law, ensure the safety of all citizens, and maintain our neutrality throughout this electoral exercise.

“The Inspector General of Police urges the public to cooperate with the police and other security agencies, report suspicious activities, and exercise their democratic rights peacefully. Let us all work together to make these elections a resounding success, a testament to the strength of our democracy, and a shining example of free, fair, secure, and credible elections.

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