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Police identify five violence-prone LGs in Bayelsa

The Nigeria Police Force has identified four local government areas of Bayelsa State as the most politically volatile council areas in the state, ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

This is as it assured the people of the state that it would ensure a peaceful atmosphere before, during, and after the polls through adequate deployment of men and officers in collaboration with sister-security agencies.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police supervising the South-South zone, Daniel Sokari-Pedro, who disclosed this during a meeting with election stakeholders at the Police Officers’ Mess in Yenagoa on Thursday, said the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, was committed to a free and fair electoral process.

Sokari-Pedro, who is in charge of Election Management Security in Bayelsa, said the three senatorial districts of the state were also violence-prone and listed the five local governments as Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Brass, Sagbama, and Kolokuma/Opokuma, adding that “almost all the local government areas are politically volatile” as far as the election was concerned.

The incumbent Governor Douye Diri, who is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, is from Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, while his All Progressives Congress counterpart, Timipre Sylva, is from Brass LGA.

He said, “It is a known fact Bayelsa State is a peaceful state. Nevertheless, it is, election-wise, a volatile state. The three senatorial districts that make up the state are politically volatile. And some of the local governments and flash points have been identified in the three senatorial zones.

“These include Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw and, I think, Brass. Almost all the local governments are politically volatile. But the ones I have just mentioned are the most volatile. I mentioned Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Brass, Sagbama, and Kolokuma/Opokuma.”

The DIG, who was accompanied by his deputy on election duty in Bayelsa, AIG Ebong Eyibio, and the AIG Zone 16 headquarters in Yenagoa, AIG Paul Odama, also read the riot act to troublemakers, particularly violent youths and their sponsors, to steer clear of voting centres across the state.

Sokari-Pedro further said, “Unfortunately, the youths have been identified as vanguards and merchants of election savagery. And the so-called godfathers and principals have been known to be purveyors and patrons of those evils.

“You will agree with me that the trend of election brigandage is becoming a norm for two reasons. One, erstwhile, when suspects are arrested, they are treated with kid gloves. Secondly, the sponsors are likely not arrested. If arrested, they are not prosecuted. This encourages a culture of impunity.

“But we are assuring the peace-loving Bayelsans that in this election, not only the proxies will be dealt with, their identified principals will equally be dealt with. Take note. The fate that befalls the proxies will be visited on the principals.”

He further stated that as part of preparations for peaceful governorship polls, officers and men had been directed to carry out a show of force in all the local government areas on Thursday and Friday, 48 hours before election day.

Sokari-Pedro also warned that all arrested troublemakers would be put out of circulation for the duration of the election, and would be prosecuted thereafter, warning that “any civilian that is armed and close to, or is at any polling centre, shall be promptly arrested, and failure to do so by the policeman himself or the brother-security agent who is responsible for such a lapse, shall be arrested. That will tell you we are not joking.”

In his remarks, the chairman of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, King Bubaraye Dakolo, commended the police authorities for the security measures they had put in place to prevent electoral violence, urging the police to keep to their promise.

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