Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr Mike Okoli, has said the police authorities have deployed 5,000 officers and men for the senatorial by-elections in the state.
The Commissioner made the disclosure on Friday in Yenagoa, the state capital, during a press briefing on the state of preparedness of the police for the by-elections slated for Saturday.
Okoli stated, “The Inspector General of Police has been very magnanimous in giving us sufficient manpower to cover the by-elections.
“We are deploying 5,000 police personnel. Out of that 5,000, we have 10 police mobile units to cover the elections. These mobile units will not be at the polling units, but would be at the outer places to check the activities of hoodlums and those who may want to disrupt the exercise.
Okoli said the police were fully prepared for the exercise and urged the people of the state to play by the rules.
He stated: “You will recall that this election was earlier scheduled to hold on the 31st of October but was rescheduled due to some circumstances to December 5, 2020. In fact, as at October 31, we were fully prepared. Pushing it to December 5 has given us more ample time and opportunity to up the ante and be more prepared to deliver.
“As you can see within the state headquarters, we are doing deployment. This deployment started since yesterday. You know the terrain of Bayelsa is riverine. Most of them are moving through speedboats, gunboats and hired commercial boats to places like Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor, Sagbama; all those areas are riverine areas and we have done adequate preparations.
“All the polling units, all the RACKs for Bayelsa West, the final collation centre for Bayelsa West will be done in Sagbama while the final collation for Bayelsa Central will be done in Yenagoa.”
Okoli appealed to the people of the state to give peace a chance and ensure they conduct themselves peacefully so that the police could deliver.
He further said: “We want to follow what happened in Edo and Ondo states where we had clean elections. We want to replicate those in Bayelsa State.
“I appeal to the good people of Bayelsa to come out and cast their votes. Security will be there for them. They should be peaceful, they should never embark on violence. Election shouldn’t be a matter of do or die, it is not worth dying for, it is a democratic process.
“To make sure the exercise goes well, there will be restriction of vehicular movements. It will be from 6am to about 2pmwhen the exercise will be over. We are mindful WAEC exams is going on in some areas. So we have directed our policemen to allow WAEC candidates to go and take their exams without harassment.”