Bye-elections: Police restrict vehicular movement in 26 states

THE Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, has restricted vehicular movement from 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 3, 2023, in 26 states holding run-off and bye-elections.

The IGP assured that all eligible voters in the states would be allowed to exercise their franchise without fear of intimidation.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this via a statement on the Nigerian Police Force’s X handle on Thursday, February 1.

The statement, however, noted that essential services such as those by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials, accredited electoral observers, ambulances responding to medical emergencies, firefighters, and media personnel were exempted from the restriction.

The IGP also banned security aides of important personalities from accompanying them to polling booths.

He also prohibited state-owned security outfits from election security management.

“Emphasizing the commitment to a secure electoral process, the IGP urges responsible conduct and warns of legal consequences for disruptions. Citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious activities to specified authorities. Numbers to call are 08034040439 (CP Elections); 08031230631 (Toll-Free); 08057000001, 08057000002 (Complaint Response Unit).” the statement added.

The ICIR reports that INEC will conduct re-runs and bye-elections in several states due to the cancellation of elections, resignations from offices, and court rulings that trailed the 2023 general elections

    The Commission chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had raised the alarm over alleged plans to disrupt the elections.

    He said the conduct of isolated elections, such as bye-elections and re-run elections, posed significant challenges, noting that it was essential to be vigilant about the disruptive behaviours that might emanate from certain candidates and their supporters.

    Yakubu said, “Arising from the reports we received from the states, concerns have been raised about the impact of the prevailing insecurity in some states on the conduct of the elections, made worse by incendiary statements by some political actors.”

    According to the INEC boss, the elections initially affected 35 national and state constituencies, stressing that four additional orders of the Court of Appeal were served on the commission in respect of Yabo/Shagari Federal Constituency of Sokoto State, Madara/Chinade State Constituency of Bauchi State, and Kudan and Kauru/Chawai State Constituencies of Kaduna State.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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