IN a bid to ensure free and fair re-run elections in Rivers State and checkmate allegations of planned electoral violence, Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has directed the Assistant Inspector-General in charge Zone 6, Baba Bolanta, to relocate from Calabar, Cross River State, to Port Harcourt.
He has also redeployed three Commissioners of Police to Rivers State to further boost security of lives and property and ensure hitch-free elections.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Police Command has arrested one Luke Okumebi in connection with the killing, last week, of a youth, Godstime Ifuroiyala, in Buguma, Asari Toru Local Government Area of the state, by suspected cultists.
The deceased, who was killed in a reprisal attack by alleged loyalists of late Ofinjite Amachree, who was killed in the community on Tuesday, was allegedly set ablaze and his corpse dumped in the river.
Community sources said that after killing the late Ifuroiyala, his assailants burnt his remains the same way killers of late Amachree, a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the area was burnt on Tuesday.
“It was hit and run attack so there was nothing the Police could have done. They just got hold of their target, finished him and disappeared with the corpse before the police came,” the sources said.
Similarly, a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, in Abuja, on the deployment of some officers for the re-run poll, said: “In furtherance of strategies designed to prevent electoral violence and thus ensure a smooth and orderly conduct of the Rivers State re-run elections slated for March 19, 2016, the IG, Mr Arase, has directed the AIG in charge of Zone 6 Calabar, AIG Bolanta, to relocate to Port Harcourt on March 14, 2016 for pre-elections preparations with a view to ensuring conducive environment for free, fair and credible election.
“The IG, while disclosing that three Commissioners of Police have been deployed to supervise security arrangements in the three senatorial districts, Rivers East, Rivers West and Rivers South-East, stated that 6,000 conventional policemen and 14 Units of Police Mobile Force personnel (MOPOL), would be deployed to complement the personnel of Rivers State Command during the election.
“In addition, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Department of Operations, DIG Sontoye Wakama, has also been directed to proceed to Rivers State immediately to hold meetings with stakeholders and police officers in the state command on the need for peaceful conduct before, during and after the elections.
“The IG, while assuring law-abiding electorate of a secure and enabling environment to exercise their franchise, warns all security details to desist from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election.
“He emphasizes that only security personnel specially assigned for election duties must be seen within and around the election designated places.”