The Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation from 12 am to 6 pm in 26 states holding bye-elections on Saturday.
This is with the exclusion of those on essential duties such as officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, election observers, accredited journalists, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, and firefighters among others.
The affected states are Ebonyi, Yobe, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau and Akwa Ibom.
Others are Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Katsina, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara.
In Lagos, bye-election will be held in Surelere 1 Federal Constituency after the seat became vacant following the appointment of former Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who represented the constituency before he was appointed the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu.
The IG also ordered a ban on all security aides to VIPs and escorts from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, made the development known in a statement on Thursday.
Adejobi said, “The Inspector General of Police, Okukayode Egbetokun, has ordered the restriction of all forms of vehicular movement on roads, waterways, and other forms of transportation from 12 am to 6 pm on election day in all states where elections will be conducted.
“With the exception of those on essential services such as INEC officials, electoral observers, accredited media and observers both foreign and domestic, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, firefighters, etc., during the upcoming 2024 run-off and bye-elections scheduled to take place across 26 states on Saturday, February 3, 2024.”
Adejobi added that state-established and owned security outfits and organisations, quasi-security units, and privately owned guard and security outfits are also barred from participating in election security management.
He added, “The movement restrictions, including the ban on VIP aides, escorts, and state security outfits, are crucial measures aimed at preventing any undue interference or intimidation during the electoral process. The IG emphasizes that these restrictions are implemented to safeguard the integrity of the elections and guarantee equal participation for all citizens of the affected states.
“The IG urges political parties, candidates, and their supporters to conduct themselves responsibly and in accordance with the electoral laws, as any attempt to disrupt the electoral process or violate the established guidelines will be met with the full force of the law.”
Adejobi encouraged citizens to report any suspicious activities or incidents that may undermine the electoral process to the appropriate authorities.
He quoted the IG as expressing the confidence that, through collective efforts, the upcoming run-off and bye-elections will be conducted peacefully, transparently, and in line with the principles of democracy. (Punch)