Women under the auspices of Bayelsa Women Arise has urged the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, and his counterpart in the Department of State Services, to ensure the safety of the electorate during and after the next month’s off-season elections in the state.
The group made the appeal in a statement issued on Monday following the remarks attributed to the All Progressives Congress Deputy Governorship candidate, Mr Joshua Maciver at the weekend.
Maciver had reportedly urged his party faithful not to tolerate opposition on election day, when he addressed them at a rally in Twon Brass, Bayelsa State.
The publicity Secretary of the Bayelsa Women Arise, Princess Ebibaratimi Atan, recalled that the IGP at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the instance of the Independent National Electoral Commission held last Friday, assured voters in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi that their safety would be guaranteed.
The Forum appealed to the security agencies that threats of violence coming from the APC Deputy Governorship candidate could destabilise the electoral process.
They argued that it is the duty of law enforcement agencies to protect the lives and properties of all citizens, noting that failure to address the issue promptly would set a dangerous precedent for the state’s political climate.
They urged the Inspector- General of Police to launch a thorough and swift investigation into the comments made by Mr. Joshua Maciver, “as a way of preventing bloodshed, which Mr Maciver and his co-travelers are determined to unleash on our people during the forthcoming election.”
“Recall that a few days ago, our organisation expressed our fears and sensitised the people of Bayelsa on the for a violence-free Governorship election on November 11, during a Peace Walk where thousands of Bayelsa people participated.
“During his speech in Twon Brass, Mr Joshua Maciver shockingly advocated for the killing of supporters of opposition candidates, thereby inciting violence and creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in our beloved State.
“Such statements are not only unbecoming of a political candidate but are also a direct threat to the democratic process, which is built on the principles of peaceful coexistence and respect for the rights and choices of the citizens.
“Therefore, we, as concerned citizens and advocates for peace, justice, and a fair electoral process, strongly condemn these reckless remarks and call upon the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the DSS to take immediate and decisive action to reassure voters of their safety.
“It is the duty of law enforcement agencies to protect the lives and property of all citizens, and we believe that failure to address this issue promptly would set a dangerous precedent for our state’s political climate.
“In light of the above, we urge the Inspector General of Police to launch a thorough and swift investigation into the comments made by Mr. Joshua Maciver, as a way of preventing bloodshed, which Mr. Maciver and his co-travelers are determined to unleash on our people during the forthcoming election. We strongly believe that nobody, regardless of their political affiliation, should be above the law, and justice must be served.
“It is crucial to remind all political actors of their responsibility to promote peaceful coexistence and respect for democratic principles.
“We want to emphasise that our appeal is not driven by political bias but by a genuine concern for the safety and well-being of all citizens of Bayelsa.
“It is our fervent hope that the forthcoming governorship election will be conducted in an atmosphere of peace, fairness, and respect for the democratic values that our nation upholds.
“It is our hope that the Police and other security agencies will demonstrate their willingness to ensure a peaceful governorship election in Bayelsa State by making sure that Mr. Joshua Maciver’s statements do not go unpunished and that the democratic process in Bayelsa State is protected” the statement noted.