Towards ensuring adequate security for Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in Ondo State, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar, has ordered restriction on movements in and around the State.
A statement by Deputy Police Public Relations Office Frank E. Mba said the order would take two tracks. The first would impose restrictions on movement in and out of Akure only, beginning at 6p.m. local time today until 6am tomorrow (Friday).
On the second track, the restriction would be in place “in and out of the entire State, except for those on essential duties and or such degree of movement necessary for citizens to exercise their franchise on the election day,” and would take effect at 6pm on Friday and expire at 8pm on Saturday.
Under the arrangement, travelers and citizens who intend to use roads in and out of Ondo State are advised to use alternative routes.
“While expressing his regrets over the inconveniences that road users and the general public may suffer as a result of this restriction, the IGP appeals for the understanding and cooperation of the entire citizenry, as the restriction is essentially to ensure the effective security of citizens, election officials and materials,” the statement said. “It is a strategy to curtail the influx and movement of undesirable and criminal elements in and out of the State before and during the election.”
The police boss assured the public that adequate security logistics and manpower have been strategically deployed to achieve a most conducive electioneering atmosphere, pointing out that policemen for election duty have been properly trained, briefed and sensitized on their roles as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
“They are expected to be professional, non partisan, civil but firm in their approach and relation to the public; and to strictly observe Force Order 237 on the use of firearms to ensure that inalienable rights of the citizens are not trampled upon,” the statement said.
The IGP also advised politicians to play by the rules. He urged politicians, political office holders and all Very Important Personalities who are not directly involved in the conduct of the election to peacefully cast their votes and return to their homes.
“On no account must they be involved in monitoring of election, as the Police will enforce to the letter, all laws relating to the elections and law breakers appropriately dealt with in accordance with the law of the land,” he warned.
He urged the citizens of Ondo State to come out enmasse to exercise their civic right, reassuring them that the police, assisted by other security agencies, have mapped out plans to ensure that voters out to vote can do so without molestation from any quarter.
He further advised them to shun violence and all forms of thuggery, and urged parents to keep close watch on their children and wards in order not to allow them to be used by unscrupulous politicians for criminal purposes, as the full weight of the law will take its course on anyone apprehended.