By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
AHEAD of today’s House of Assembly Elections in Bayelsa State, Governor Seriake Dickson, has urged the Nigeria Police to be assertive as the chief law enforcement agency for maintenance of law and order.
He said, that is the primary role for the police as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
Dickson so advised Thursday night when the 11th Commissioner of Police posted to the state in four months, Mr. Olushola David, led a team of officers to pay him a courtesy call in Government House, Yenagoa.
Constitutionally speaking, he said it is the place of the police to play a major role in all civil matters in the country, including providing security during elections.
He stressed that other security agencies only complement the efforts of the police where necessary.
The governor, who assured the new CP of the state government’s support, urged the police to be thoroughly professional in discharging their duties to prevent a re-occurrence of the irregularities that marred the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly polls in parts of the state.
While emphasising the need for institutions and individuals to respect the rule of law, he noted that democracy as well as national unity and stability will continue to suffer setback in the country’s quest for sustainable development if drastic measures are not taken to check the growing lawlessness and impunity.
Dickson, who restated his call on the people of the state to come out en masse to participate in this Saturday’s House of Assembly polls, decried the attitude of politicians who see election as a do-or-die affair.
His words: “We expect the police in this state now led by you for this election purposes to play its crucial, primal role and take charge of election security and monitoring.
I have always said that I treat every Commissioner of Police in this state as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer. All other agencies have to support the police and the CP.
“So, as Commissioner of Police in charge of election duties, we expect you to lead and take decisive steps (preventive as well as enforcement steps) to ensure that hoodlums do not hide under the cover of elections to kill, maim and destroy property and destabilise our peaceful communities.
“Nobody should be allowed, no matter how highly placed, to sponsor criminals and gang leaders to foment crisis. Election is not war. It is not where people arm criminals to constitute a direct challenge of the nation. Under your leadership, we expect that you will take steps to check such criminal acts between now and the election and thereafter.
“The level of impunity displayed by political actors is such that if it is not contained, it will lead to complete disregard of the law, its servants and agencies and even a threat to the existence of the state itself as an organised authority.”
Earlier, Mr Olushola David assured the governor of his team’s readiness to provide adequate security and level playing ground for all political parties and voters to exercise their franchise in the elections.
To this end, the police boss said he had, upon arrival in the state, held series of meetings with various stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to review what transpired in the last elections with a view to forestalling any recurrence of the identified irregularities in this Saturday’s polls.
According to the CP, “the mandate of the IGP Mohammed A. Adamu is for us to come out here and discharge our duties professionally. And that is what I have told the officers and men today (Thursday). We want to assure the people of Bayelsa that the team deployed here will discharge their duties creditably.
“There will be adequate security. So, the fear of anything happening at the polling stations should be put to rest. We have been able to identify what the problems are and we are making sure that such things do not repeat themselves again.”