The Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mike Okoli, on Friday, said that the command was fully set for Saturday’s senatorial by-election in Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial Districts.
Okoli, who gave the assurance while briefing the press on the readiness of the Command for the election, added that the shifting of the election to December 5 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had given the Command ample time to up the ante and be more prepared to deliver a free, fair and violent free election.
“As you can see within the headquarters we are doing the deployment. The deployment started on Thursday. You know the terrain of Bayelsa is riverine and most of our men are moving through speed boats, gunboats and hired commercial boats to far places like Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Sagbama. We have done adequate preparation to cover all the PUs and RACs”, the police boss disclosed.
According to him, the command had sufficient manpower to man the final collation centre for Bayelsa West at Sagbama and that of Bayelsa Central, in the state capital, Yenagoa.
“The IGP has been magnanimous enough in giving us sufficient manpower to cover this election. We are deploying 5,000 personnel. Out of that 5,000, we have 10 Mobile PMF Units. The Mobile Units would not be at the polling units but at the outer rings to checkmate the activities of hoodlums and those that want to disrupt the exercise. The unarmed Police would be at the Units. We have deployed adequately and we expect good result”, he added
Okoli appeal to the people of Bayelsa State to give peace a chance and conduct themselves peacefully, stressing that the Bayelsa Police Command was desirous of replicating what happened in Ondo and Edo where the two states had a clean election.
“I appeal to the good people of Bayelsa to come out and cast their vote. Security would be there for them. Let them be peaceful. They should not embark on violence. The election should not be a do or die. It is not worth dying for. It is a democratic process,” he pleaded.
The Commissioner of Police announced that as part of the measures put in place to forestall any ugly incident during the poll, there would be vehicular restrictions on Saturday between 6 and 14.00 hrs when the exercise would be over.
“We are mindful that WAEC is going on in some areas so we have directed Policemen to allow WAEC candidates to pass through to go and write their examination,” he clarified.
Responding to attack the Federal High Court by hoodlums on Thursday in Yenagoa and the invasion of Ondewari Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Okoli said the violence was immediately curtailed.
“We were able to move in and arrest the situation. The Court sat today and it delivers a ruling and it was very peaceful. With the manpower we have we are going to dominate the terrain,” Okoli boasted.
On the allegation that he had been comprised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to invite chieftains of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Sagbama and detain them, the top police officer dismissed the allegation as unfounded.
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