Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 4, Chris Ejike, has warned against thuggery, vote-buying, and manipulation of election results among other vices during this Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly elections.
Ejike who gave the warning at a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Police Officers Mess in Makurdi on Wednesday urged politicians and their supporters not to engage in any provocative actions that would be inimical to the success of the elections.
“Lessons that have been learnt in the presidential elections should positively impact on the next election to make it better. There are still no-go-areas in the elections. The restriction order must be strictly adhered to. We must stay with the rules guiding the elections.
“It is still an offense to engage in thuggery, vote buying, manipulation and so on. Forty-eight hours to elections, campaigns must stop. Don’t engage in provocative actions, and if you do, the police and other security agencies will apprehend you.”
The AIG who stressed the need to continue to nurture the nation’s democracy enjoined all stakeholders to join hands together to ensure that the electoral process is free from any form of intimidation.
“We cannot drag our democracy in thuggery. The electoral process must be free from intimidation. Collation centres have often become places where thugs perpetrate their evil. A situation where political parties indulge in armed thuggery will not be tolerated.”
The AIG who disclosed that all security personnel attached to politicians must all be withdrawn one day to the elections insisted that transparent, peaceful and credible election is competitive and Benue State cannot afford to come last.
“Election observers and civil society organisations will rank states according to their performance and Benue cannot afford to come last.”
He posited that more security operatives would be deployed to some LGAs in Benue that have been flagged as flashpoints to ensure peace in those areas.
“If you notice an increase in the number of those that have been deployed to your area, don’t worry as we are trying to ensure the right thing is done. And I trust that Benue being the food basket of the nation will have an intimidation-free, credible and fair elections.
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Omololu Bishi, who adjudged the last presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections as free of violence in the state, urged the stakeholders to consolidate on that in the next elections.