Bayelsa Poll: INEC, Police Meet Stakeholders, Warn against Violence, Vote Buying

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INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu
  •  IG deploys 32,000 cops

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, yesterday met with political stakeholders in Bayelsa ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.

During the meeting which held in Yenagoa, the INEC chairman maintained that the police would take over the primary duty of securing humans and materials, noting that any other function engaged upon by the security forces will be secondary.

“The police are the lead agency for election security in Nigeria and the IG is here. In addition, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) provides the bulk of ad hoc staff for election duty at polling unit level in Nigeria” he said.

He added: “I want to reassure you that INEC is ready. We have so far successfully implemented 12 out of our 14-point plan for the election as required by law”.

Yakubu said that all non-sensitive materials had also been delivered to their destinations, stressing that even the sensitive materials will be sheltered at the central bank this weekend.

“The commission has also delivered all non-sensitive materials to our office here in Yenagoa long ago. They have all been sorted out, categorised and batched, ready to be delivered to the LGAs, Wards and Polling Units. The sensitive materials are also ready and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is delivering them to Bayelsa State this weekend.

“The normal process of inspection and distribution within the State will be done in the presence of party agents, security agencies, observers and the media” he noted.

Yakubu said that the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) had been configured and will be added to other sensitive materials and delivered together, warning that any form of inducement will be punished.

“Let me also reiterate that voter inducement in all forms, including vote-buying at polling units is a violation of the law. The ban on the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices in the voting cubicles is still in force and will be strictly enforced and monitored.

He affirmed that the commission would commit to non-violence before, during and after the election and ensure a free, fair and credible process.

Forty two out of the 45 political parties later signed a peace accord, including the APC and PDP candidates.

The Inspector General of Police in his remarks, said that the force would deploy no fewer than 32, 000 officers for election duty during the Bayelsa gubernatorial poll fixed for November 16.

He assured of maximum security during and after the election in the state, saying that the police were ready to protect lives and property, especially in all the polling units.

“All security arrangements have been made. The Police Force will deploy 32, 000 personnel to the state during the period of the governorship poll.

“The Police will ensure that all electoral materials are well secured. We urge all politicians and the electorate, especially the youths to stay away from disorder.

“Do not cause trouble at the polling units or conduct any illegal activity that is capable of disrupting election processes.

“You must not allow yourselves to be used as that because if you are caught, you will be prosecuted according to the law.

“This election is an isolated one and we must do what we can to achieve credible poll, come Nov 16,” he stated.

During his visit to Governor Seriake Dickson, the governor appreciated the IG and his men in the state for enthroning peace in Bayelsa State since the government assumed office.

‘’Bayelsa is ranked as one of the most peaceful states in the federation. This is clearly attributed to our commitment to a peaceful state which is a prerequisite for development, our massive investments in security, the involvement of the communities and the undeniable efforts and professionalism of your men”he said

Dickson, however, expressed his displeasure at the incessant deployment and redeployment of commissioners of police to Bayelsa, especially during election seasons.