The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Bayelsa State has banned orderlies and guards from escorting their employers to their polling units. The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of election in the State, Daniel Sokari-Pedro, gave the warning on Thursday in Yenagoa.
Sokari-Pedro said that the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has directed police personnel to be committed to a free, fair, safe and unhindered democratic process during the off-cycle election.
He said that the police consider all three senatorial zones in the state as volatile and have identified some local government areas considered flashpoints. These include Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw and Brass.
Sokari-Pedro warned that any orderly or guard that escorts his principal to the polling centre will be arrested and tried in the orderly room, which may lead to dismissal.
He assured that the police will provide protection for voters, INEC officials, property and materials at every point from voting, counting and collation. Sanctions will be meted to officers for any breach.
The ban on orderlies and guards escorting their employers to polling units is a welcome development. It will help to create a level playing field for all candidates and ensure that the election is conducted in a free and fair manner.
He said, “Any orderly or guard that escorts his principal to the polling centre shall be arrested and thereafter tried in the orderly room, in this case, if care is not taken, may lead to his dismissal.
“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.
“The three Senatorial zones that make up the state are politically volatile, and some local governments are flashpoints, they include Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw and Brass.
“These are just some of the local governments that are most volatile.