Rivers Bye-Election Disruption: Police Probe Officers’ Involvement

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Worried by the wide criticisms and condemnations that some police officers aided political thugs during last Saturday bye-elections into PHALGA Constituency III, State House of Assembly, the Rivers State Police Command says it has begun investigations into the roles allegedly played by its personnel during the election and those found culpable will be sanctioned.
The police also said that they were re-visiting the issue of very important persons and politicians who were allegedly moving around with their security details and accordingly treat such violators as well as their orderlies as having flagrantly violated the clear provisions of the Electoral Act and would be dealt with accordingly.
The State Commissioner for Police, CP Zaki M. Ahmed stated this while briefing journalists at the Command headquarters in Port Harcourt on Monday on the role of the police during the bye-election into PHALGA Constituency 3 State House of Assembly.
Zaki disclosed that the police were consulting with all stakeholders including INEC to among other things unravel that actors that disrupted the election to arrest all persons fingered for suspension of the electoral process as well as to charge all accused persons in the infamous act, to court, no matter how highly placed.
He averred that on the election day, adequate deployments were made the police and other sister security agencies were able to establish adequate security presence on all the areas where the election took place.
According to him “restriction of movement was made in the affected areas covering PHALGA Constituency III, strategic deployments were made at both entry and exit points to the state. Election commenced peacefully at about 0900 hrs in all the areas with accreditation and voting. Voting ended peacefully in many areas as reported by the various DPOS deployed to security at the wards.”
The State Commissioner of Police, however, said when the command received the information that some political thugs were disrupting election at Mile II and Mile III areas, the command immediately deployed more personnel and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCS) to safeguard the election process, lives and property in a most professional manner.
“I want to make it abundantly clear that the police in conjunction with other sister security agencies stoutly stood their grounds and prevented a situation that would have degenerated to wanton destruction of lives and property. I wish to reiterate that the police did not at any time collude with any political party to discredit the political process as alleged in some quarters” he added.
He assured that the command under his watch would continue to respect all known democratic values in ensuring a smooth electioneering process and would remain focused, neutral and professional in the discharge of their core mandate.