From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Police Command has denied any involvement in disruption of the Saturday Bye-election into Port Harcourt Constituency III, for the State House of Assembly which was marred by violence and cartying away of electoral materials and ballot boxes.
Briefing newsmen yesterday evening, at the headquarters of the Command on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, the state Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed, said the “Police did not at anytime collude with any political party to discredit the political process as alleged in some quarters”.
Ahmed who reiterated that there were adequate presence of police and other sister security agencies at the areas where the election was billed to take place, regretted that thugs invaded the process and caused mayhem which led to the suspension of the election.
Speaking further on the incident, Ahmed said “Information at the command’s disposal, revealed the presence of political thugs at Miles II and III who were reportedly armed and we’re disrupting the voting process. The police in the wake of this information immediately deployed more Personnel and Armoured Personnel Carriers to safeguard the election process, lives and property which was done most professionally.
“The INEC officials who appeared to have been intimidated by the thugs were reassured by our presence. Accordingly, our counter measures against the thugs and the thuggery they exhibited, calmed the situation and the INEC officials left with some of the election materials and subsequently suspected the entire process.”
However, the CP who noted that no lives was lost in the electoral violence, said “It must be emphasised that the timely action of the police in checkmating political thugs prevented the loss of lives and destruction of properties”.
He assured that the command would arrest all persons fingered to have played any negative role that led to the termination and suspension of the electoral process.