Security has been beefed up in Rivers State, especially Port Harcourt, ahead of the legislative rerun in Rivers State.
Heavily armed operatives were seen in over 30 police vans along Aba Road while hundreds of them, clutching rifles, were seen moving towards the state police command on Moscow Road.
It was gathered that the security operatives were coming into Rivers from different states ahead of the election on Saturday.
Some of the security agents, who were mainly regular and mobile policemen, were seen purchasing soft drinks and other food items outside the command while waiting for their accommodation.
Confirming the influx of security operatives into the state, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, explained that the policemen were in Rivers to ensure that nothing went wrong during Saturday’s election.
“We (police) are fully ready for the election on Saturday. As you can see, our men are fully on the ground and will be working hand-in-hand with other security agencies.
“This is to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order during the election,” he added.
Earlier in a statement, the state police spokesman maintained that there would be a total restriction of movement of persons and vehicles from 12 midnight on Friday till 8pm on Saturday, both on land and waterways.
Omoni said in the statement that the police and other security agencies would patrol all parts of the state to ensure strict compliance.
There is, however, anxiety in the state as some residents of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor streamed to various banks to withdraw money mainly for food that would last through the weekend.
Long queues were observed at ATM points in different banks along Olu Obasanjo Road in the state capital, even as some bank customers complained of their inability to withdraw cash without delay.
Some residents were also observed streaming into supermarkets and stores to purchase food in large quantities.
A resident of Port Harcourt, who identified herself as Josephine Udoma, said she had to buy enough foodstuffs to last for at least a week, adding that she was not sure of what Saturday’s election would bring to the people of the state.
“This election should come and go. It is surprising that we are still talking about election that should have been concluded in 2015. People are afraid because of what they have heard from about the election.
“It was hectic getting money from the ATM and when I eventually did, I had to buy enough foodstuffs that will serve me for at least one week because we don’t know what will happen during and after the election,” Udoma added.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has called on the Nigerian Army, the navy, air force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and others to synergise with the police to ensure a violence-free parliamentary election in the state.
Idris made the call in Port Harcourt on Thursday during his one-day working visit to the state ahead of the rerun.
Addressing police officers and other security agencies, Idris stated that a fair collaboration among the security personnel deployed for the election would strengthen security operations and ensure the completion of the exercise.
While assuring the police on duty of their welfare, Idris warned policemen not go beyond the areas of their operations in order for the force to check the activities of impersonators.