Police impose curfew as APC, PDP tango over Bayelsa Assembly rerun

The police in Bayelsa State today declared a dawn to dusk curfew over the rerun election between a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Konbowei Benson of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress candidate, Ebifeghe Orunimighe.

To forestall any violence and ensure that the process runs smoothly, the command noted that the curfew would run from 7pm Friday and would end today (Saturday) at 7pm.

The Command Spokesman, Asinim Butswat in a statement in Yenagoa, noted that adequate measures had been put in place to achieve a free, fair and violence free exercise.

Accordingly, the police said that any person or group of persons, who violate the order would be arrested and prosecuted.

Also, all policemen attached to VIPS, the command warned, should not be sighted near any polling booth ‘’while officers are to follow the rule of law and limit their actions to protection of life and property and safety for all electoral officers and materials’’.

While urging the electorate in the affected constituencies to come out and exercise their franchise by casting their votes for candidates of their choice, the command noted that undercover operatives had been stationed to monitor activities of policemen and electoral officials.

The restrictions of movement, it was learnt, would also affect boats and all river craft activities in the waterways leading to the affected communities.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission says it is fully prepared to conduct tomorrow’s rerun elections in Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 and Ekeremor Constituency 3.

Head,Voter Education and Public Relations Officer of the commission in Bayelsa, Timidi Wariowei, who disclosed this in an interview in Yenagoa , noted that the commission would deliver on its mandate to ensure the conduct of the election within internationally accepted standards.

‘’Already, the electoral materials for the elections have been conveyed to the state capital from Abuja and would be distributed to the various registration centres’’, he said

Wariowei said that INEC was working with the police and the military to provide security while arrangements had been made for gunboats that would escort the electoral materials to the registration centres.
He also said that accreditation of voters and voting would be done simultaneously from 8am in the morning.

Benson lost his seat last December following the nullification of his election by the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in a suit filed by Orunimighe.
INEC will also conduct a rerun election in Ekeremor Constituency 3 where the Appeal Court also nullified the April 2015 election in the area.