Rivers Rerun Elections Police IG warns hoodlums, politicians against violence

Arase said that the security framework that had been put in place for the polls was civil enough to protect all political actors across party divide.

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The Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase play

The Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase

(Pulse)
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The Nigeria Police have warned that it would deal swiftly with any individual whose act would threaten the conduct of Saturday’s parliamentary re-run polls in Rivers.

Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, gave the warning at a joint news conference he held with Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Arase said that the security framework that had been put in place for the polls was civil enough to protect all political actors across party divide.

"Let me note that the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Police has conducted a comprehensive security threat analysis of Rivers state.

"The areas likely to present major security threat as well as individuals who are poised to make themselves available as political thugs to threaten the peaceful conduct of the electoral process have been identified.

"I can assure you that appropriate mechanisms have been duly put in place to prevent these anti-democratic elements from manifesting their criminal intent,’’ Arase said.

He advised politicians and the electorate to conduct themselves with decorum, while avoiding acts of brigandage, saying "security agents are under strict instructions to deal decisively with such situations.

"Our democracy has evolved to a level where political gladiators and electorate should allow morality, integrity, genuine national passion, service and above all, the dictates of the law to guide their actions.

"The days when political power is attained through the rule of violence rather than the rule of law and democratic values are fading.

"Our political actors that believe in turning citizens to political thugs and cannon fodders to bear the fatal brunt of their political ambition should allow such thoughts to fade henceforth or be prepared to face the wrath of justice.’’

Arase announced that 6,000 policemen and three commissioners of police had been deployed to Rivers for the elections, adding that officer from 14 units of Police Mobile Force had also been deployed to compliment the state command.

"In addition, special protection units, Explosive Ordinance Department, federal special anti- robbery squad, operatives of the criminal intelligence and investigation department, counter-terrorism unit and marine section of the force are also being deployed.

"These land and marine assets will be complemented by aerial surveillance to be undertaken by not less than three police helicopters.’’

He added that the police would also be supported by other security agencies and the armed forces.

On the propriety of deploying Deputy Inspector-General in charge of Operations, Sontoye Wakama, who is believed to be from Rivers axis, for the election, Arase said that the man would not be in Rivers during the election.

He explained that Wakama was only mandated to hold meetings with stakeholders and police officers in the state command, adding that the man would return to Abuja on Thursday.

On his party, INEC chairman assured that the commission had taken every measure and precaution to ensure free, fair and credible election on Saturday.

He said that all personnel involved in the election had been warned against compromising the processes and procedures in any way, adding that "violators will be severely sanctioned.’’

Yakubu appealed to all political actors in Rivers to avoid statements and actions capable of breaching public peace so that the people of the state could choose their representatives in peace.

He said that INEC had engaged 24,930 ad hoc staff drawn from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and students of three tertiary institutions for the exercise.

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