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Bayelsa rerun: Police IG bars officers from escorting VIPs to polling centres

The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has ordered police officers not to accompany politicians to polling centres during the gubernatorial election rerun in Southern Ijaw Local Government of Bayelsa State on Saturday.

Mr. Arase gave the order through the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Peter Ogunyanwo, in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The IG advised people in the area where the rerun election will hold to follow the law and work towards a peaceful election.

He argued that those aspiring to serve the people should not resort to a do or die approach to attaining their goal.

He said just as finishing touches were being given to preparations for the rerun, the command on Thursday got a report of shootings in one communities in Southern Ijaw.

The police boss said on investigation it was found that a political officer holder in the state went with a police personnel to a riverine community.

For some undisclosed reasons, he said the police officers opened fire and disturbed the peace of the area.

“The IG promptly ordered the policemen should be withdrawn and we have done just that. Right now we are waiting for them to report here at the headquarters,” the commissioner said.

“The instruction is that no police officer attached to political leaders should escort them to polling booths during election.

“We have the constitutional duty to protect them when their lives are threatened and it was under that guide that we had policemen attached to them. But where abuses are found, the IG does not hesitate to order for withdrawal and that is what he has done in this case.

“I want to appeal to troublemakers to realize that nobody is worth dying for and that they are equally eligible to be voted for and so they have to remain alive to be voted for.

“They have to change their attitude because all our armed personnel are already on ground and we will not take chances. Anybody caught on the other side of the law will be prosecuted.”

He denied that the police was preparing the grounds to rig election.

“The allegation of the IG sending people here to rig election doesn’t hold. It is an insult to the integrity of the Nigeria Police. We are here for everybody and that was why in the last election, some police officers attached to an APC personnel were arrested because they abused the process,” he said.

“We rescued a lot of injured people in Brass and we treated them because it is our constitutional duty to protect lives and property.”

He said the constitution does not differentiate between the life of an All Progressives Congress, APC or Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members for protection.

“We advise that everybody limits their movements to the polling units where they are to vote. We don’t want any movement from one polling unit to another because it will amount to intimidation and campaign including political leaders.

“The IG has ordered that no police officer should escort any VIP to a polling center and we are going to enforce that strictly,” he said.

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