The Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, on Thursday, ordered the restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, airspaces, and other forms of transportation from 12 am to 6 pm in the 26 states where the Independent National Electoral Commission will be holding by-elections on Saturday.
This was as he warned troublemakers to stay away from the exercise.
The IG said the restriction order would not affect persons on essential duties, such as INEC officials, electoral observers, accredited journalists, and observers, both foreign and domestic.
The restriction order would also not affect drivers of ambulances responding to medical emergencies, and firefighters, among others.
The states where the by-elections are holding are Ebonyi, Yobe, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Katsina, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
Adejobi pointed out that “The movement restrictions, including the ban on VIP aides, escorts, and state security outfits, are crucial measures aimed at preventing any undue interference or intimidation during the electoral process.
“The IG emphasises that these restrictions are implemented to safeguard the integrity of the elections and guarantee equal participation for all citizens of the affected states.
“The IG urges political parties, candidates, and their supporters to conduct themselves responsibly and under the electoral laws, as any attempt to disrupt the electoral process or violate the established guidelines will be met with the full force of the law. He noted that the IG reiterated the commitment of the Force to fostering a secure and democratic society.”
Meanwhile, INEC Administrative Secretary in Sokoto State, Mrs. Hauwa Kangiwa, said on Thursday that the commission had made an with the Sokoto State Police Command to post 15 policemen to each of the 46 polling units in the state.
“All the non-sensitive materials have already been distributed, and today we are here for the distribution of sensitive materials to the affected local governments,” Kangiwa said.
In Akwa Ibom State political parties participating in the by-election signed a peace accord.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Isah Ehimeakhe, while addressing stakeholders called all parties to be committed to the accord they signed.
In Plateau State, the police said they were committed to ensuring a peaceful process, adding that the IG’s movement restriction order would be enforced.
The spokesman for the command, Alabo Alfred, said, “The Plateau State Police Command has stepped up security arrangements to protect lives and properties and consequently placed a total restriction on all forms of movement across the affected local government areas which include, Jos North, Jos East, Bassa, Jos South, Riyom, and Barkin Ladi LGAs.”
Meanwhile, the logo of the Peoples Democratic Party was missing on the ballot papers in Plateau State.
The development caused tension as members of the PDP, who gathered to witness the distribution of the election materials, were seen protesting the exclusion of their party from the process,
They accused INEC of acting against the Court of Appeal judgement which said that all parties shall contest in the re-run
The PUNCH had reported that PDP supporters in Plateau State on Wednesday staged a protest at the INEC headquarters in Jos, over fears that the party was excluded.
Prior to the protests, there had been rumour that the PDP and its candidates would not participate in the re-rerun poll following the Court of Appeal judgment which nullified the elections in the two constituencies earlier won by the party’s candidates, Senator Simon Mwadkwon for Plateau North and Musa Agah for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency .
The Court of Appeal had based the nuffilication of their elections on the grounds that the PDP which nominated them as candidates had no structure .