The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Bayelsa State has issued a stern warning, prohibiting orderlies and guards from accompanying their employers to polling units. Daniel Sokari-Pedro, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of elections in the state, delivered this cautionary message during a briefing in Yenagoa on Thursday.
Sokari-Pedro emphasized that non-compliance with this directive would result in immediate arrest and subsequent trial in the orderly room. The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has directed police personnel to uphold a commitment to a free, fair, safe, and unimpeded democratic process during the upcoming off-cycle election.
Addressing stakeholders and senior police officers deployed for the governorship election, Sokari-Pedro outlined the volatile nature of all three senatorial zones in the state, pinpointing specific local government areas as potential flashpoints. Notably, Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw, and Brass were identified as areas of concern.
Sokari-Pedro stressed, “Any orderly or guard that escorts his principal to the polling centre shall be arrested and thereafter tried in the orderly room. I want to assure you that at every point from voting, counting, and collation, police shall provide protection for voters, INEC officials, property, and materials. Sanctions shall be meted to officers for any breach.”
Highlighting the unfortunate trend of election violence being driven by youth and supported by political godfathers, Sokari-Pedro urged heightened vigilance to ensure a smooth and secure electoral process in Bayelsa State.