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Police pledge to prosecute sponsors of election violence in Bayelsa



The Police in Bayelsa State have issued a stern warning, vowing to arrest and prosecute those responsible for election violence and their sponsors ahead of the governorship election on Saturday. Daniel Sokari-Pedro, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of the election in the state, reassured of the commitment of the police to ensuring a free, fair, safe, and unhindered democratic process.


Addressing election stakeholders and senior police officers deployed for the governorship election, Sokari-Pedro outlined the areas of concern, identifying the three Senatorial zones—Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw, and Brass—as politically volatile. He expressed concern about the involvement of youths in election violence and pointed out that godfathers and principals often act as patrons of such violence.


Highlighting the historical issue of perpetrators and sponsors escaping prosecution, Sokari-Pedro assured the peace-loving people of the state that, in this election, both culprits and identified sponsors would face consequences to ensure a peaceful electoral process.


To preemptively address potential violence, Sokari-Pedro directed police officers in all local governments to conduct a show of force and take suspects out of circulation. He warned that civilians found armed at polling centres would be arrested, and any failure by the police to do so would result in the arrest of the responsible agent. Additionally, he emphasised that any orderly or guard escorting a principal to a polling centre would face arrest and subsequent trial in the orderly room, possibly leading to dismissal.


Ensuring protection for voters, INEC officials, property, and materials throughout the voting, counting, and collation processes, Sokari-Pedro stressed that sanctions would be imposed on officers for any breach. He urged parents and guardians to caution their children and ensure they stay away from trouble during and after the election.

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