Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Police Command Wednesday afternoon banned the use of tricycles, motorcycles and outboard engines with a capacity of 200 horse power and above as well restriction of human and vehicular movement.
The ban was contained in a press release signed by Ahmad K. Muhammad, Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Command.
The command announced “” Outright ban on the use of tricycles, motorcycles and engine speed boat with capacity of 200 horsepower and above, from Friday 18/03/2016 to Sunday 20/03/2016.
“Total restriction of movements between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm on Saturday 19th March, 2016.
“”The Command further emphasis that Very Important Personalities are barred from going to any voting centre with their security escorts except for their unarmed orderly only. They are also to desist from moving about from one place to another on Election Day as provided by the electoral Act. Note that monitoring teams will be moving to ensure strict compliance and arrest security men accompanying any dignitary in such unauthorised manner.
“The Command for the umpteenth time appeals for the continued support and cooperation of members of the public in this regard, to enable the state have a serene electoral process that can be adjudged not only freedom and fair but credible, please.”
In a state broadcast, on Wednesday, Governor Nyesom Wike announced that “The security agencies have definite instructions to strictly enforce the restrictions on human and vehicular movement on Election Day and consequently, arrest any person or group of persons, including government vehicles, that violate this order and or attempt to act in any way to undermine the peaceful conduct of the re-run elections in the State.”
Wike explained that “As the Chief Security Officer of the State and Chairman of the State’s Security Council, I assure every one of us of our security and safety before, during and after the re-run elections. The Nigerian Police and other security agencies have put adequate measures to keep the peace and ensure an orderly conduct of the re-run elections throughout the State.
“I have also received assurances from the armed forces that they will not deviate from their constitutional role of safeguarding law and order before, during and after the re-run elections and I am satisfied with this assurance and believe that it would not be broken.
“However, in line with the ongoing security operations to rid the state of cult-induced violence and criminality, I have requested the armed forces to increase security surveillance around some identified flashpoints of cultism and banditry in Abua/Odual, Andoni, Akuku Toru, Ahoada-East, Ahoada-West, Emohua, Ikwerre, Opobo/Nkoro, and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas of the State,” the governor stated.
Wike assured residents of the state that “There is really nothing to fear for every law-abiding citizen of the State while exercising our right to vote. On the Election Day, simply take your permanent voters cards (PVC), walk to your polling units to be accredited, peacefully cast your vote and, wait at a reasonable distance as allowed by law until the results are counted, announced and documented.
“Do not submit to any intimidation by those who seek to scare you away from voting with the military. Take note that no person is allowed to go to the voting areas with uniform security personnel or thugs.”
According to the governor,. “The re-run elections are pivotal to us as a State and as a people. As you cast your votes, you will be making fundamental decisions and choices on who gets elected to stand for our rights and promote our collective interest in the National Assembly.
” Now that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to conduct the court-ordered National and State Assemblies’ re-run elections in Rivers State, it is incumbent that we take full advantage of the opportunity to, once gain, exercise our democratic rights to vote for the candidates of our choice.”
Wike reiterated that “the will of the people freely expressed through the ballot is the root of the democratic process and Rivers State cannot be an exception. Thankfully, I have received concrete assurances from the INEC that the re-run elections in the State shall be free, fair and credible. I believe that we can all trust on INEC to live up to this solemn promise.
“However, let me warn that political party leaders and candidates must come to terms with the fact that elections are not and must not be turned into a do or die affair, just as no political ambition warrants any person, no matter his position, to threaten the peace of the State by inciting and making unguarded statements in their desperation to win the re-run elections for their parties and candidates,” Wike admonished.
The governor “declare Thursday March 17th and Friday March 18th 2016 as work free days in Rivers State to enable workers from the public and private sectors fully participate in the re-run elections and exercise their franchise. Consequently, all public and private offices, including banks must remain closed for the duration of the holidays.”