The Police have vowed to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of election violence and their sponsors in Bayelsa.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of election in the state, Daniel Sokari-Pedro, said this on Thursday in Yenagoa as the state prepares to elect a governor on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Sokari-Pedro gave the warning when he addressed election stakeholders and senior police officers deployed for the governorship election.
He said that the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has directed police personnel to be committed to free, fair, safe and unhindered democratic process during the off-cycle election.
He said that the police consider all the three Senatorial zones in the state as volatile, and have identified some local governments areas considered as flashpoints.
“The three Senatorial zones that make up the state are politically volatile, 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.
“Unfortunately, the youths have been identified as vanguard of election violence, and the so called godfathers and principals are the purveyors and patrons of this,” Sokari-Pedro said.
According to him, election violence has been allowed to fester because both perpetrators and their sponsors have always escaped prosecution.
“But we are assuring the peace loving of the state that in this election, not only will culprits be dealt with, the identified sponsors will be dealt with as well to ensure a peaceful election in Bayelsa,” he added.
Sokari-Pedro directed police officers in all the local governments to carry out a show of force, and put all suspects out of circulation.
“Any civilian that is armed at any polling centre shall be arrested and failure to that by the police, the police themselves or the agent who is responsible for such lapse, will be arrested.
“Any orderly or guard that escort his principal to the polling centre shall be arrested and thereafter tried in 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,” he said.
The DIG, therefore, warned parents and guardians to warn their children to stay away from trouble during and after the election.