Nov. 16: Fear of violence grips stakeholders in Bayelsa, Kogi

Posted by News Express | 11 November 2019 | 681 times

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Fear of violence during the poll has gripped Nigerians living in Bayelsa and Kogi states. The fear is heightened following allegations and counter allegations between the PDP and the APC on alleged arming of thugs and movement of weapons ahead of the poll.

The APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a statement he co-signed with the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, accused Dickson and the PDP of planning to compromise the poll by unleashing violence on the people. He alleged that Dickson was stockpiling arms for the election.

He said: “While it is sad to imagine that a sitting governor at the tail of his second tenure has exhausted public acceptance for both himself and his party to the level he has dissolved his entire campaign strategy to propaganda and violence.

“It should be remembered that the high level violence Mr. Dickson is banking on is not alien to him. He has, in fact, been a direct beneficiary of violence in all his years in politics.

“Stockpiling of arms in an already fragile state like Bayelsa is evil, but for Governor Dickson this is one evil he is ready to subject the Bayelsa people to because of his seemingly infinite political ambitions.

“He became a governor in 2011 by propaganda and violence; in 2015, he forced his reelection by the barrel of a gun, assisted, of course, by some corrupt staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“During that election, both Brass Local Government Area and Southern Ijaw LGA were engulfed in violence. Governor Dickson rewarded violence by appointing the key actors of that violence as local government chairmen.

“Dickson is once again employing the strategy of violence by stockpiling arms in various local government areas of the state, importing and sponsoring thugs with state funds to intimidate, kill, harass and oppress the very Bayelsans he claims to govern.”

But the state Chairman of the PDP,  Moses Cleopas, said Oshiomhole and other leaders of the APC were making  allegations as a plot to justify deployment of soldiers to rig the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state. Cleopas said that the people of the state would resist any attempt by the APC to deploy soldiers to rig the gubernatorial election.

The PDP Chairman called on Nigerians to ignore the APC allegation, which according to him, were inspired by the desperation of the party to cause mischief. Cleopas said it was absurd and ridiculous for the National Chairman of the ruling party, Oshiomhole and his Deputy, Yekini Nabena, to make wild allegations about arms stockpiling against the PDP.

Cleopas said that Oshiomhole would recall how he was hurried out of Bayelsa State to avoid being kidnapped by the leaders of the APC during their primaries in 2015. Cleopas said that the botched attempt to kidnap the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Mr. Kola Okunola, by APC militia in Brass for refusing to rig election in February, showed clearly that the APC’s politics in Bayelsa was anchored on violence. He challenged Oshiomhole to disclose to the well-meaning Nigeria public where the said arms were imported from, who imported them and the armoury.

But an ex-militant leader, Eris Paul, popularly known as Ogunboss, reinforced the allegations against the PDP saying the government was hiding under the state security outfit, Operation Doo-Akpo, to recruit thugs and acquire arms.

Paul, a former Commander, Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), in a save-our-soul message, called on the National Security Adviser to the President, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Monguno and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, to handle his complaints with seriousness.

Specifically, Paul called for the immediate disbandment of Operation Doo-Akpo to stop the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from its plans to use it to abuse the electoral process.

He said: “Operation Doo-Akpo is Dickson’s self-owned army in the state that is being used to terrorize political enemies. This same outfit in 2015 was used in hijacking electoral materials from Amassoama community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, which almost led to shootout between a stop-and-search military checkpoint and the governor’s security outfit.’

‘Some two years ago, about nine youths from Amassouma Community were gruesomely killed during a peaceful protest by operatives of the local outfit Operation Doo-Akpo.

“Dickson’s ambition is not worth the lives of every Bayelsan and we are using this medium to call on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the president, and the party chairman, Chief Adams Oshiomhole, for urgent ban of the illegally constituted security outfit.

‘We are also aware that the PDP administration under Governor Seriake Dickson and the sinking ship of the ruling party has started recruiting criminals to hijack electoral materials in some riverine communities.

“We want to call on the chairman of our able and committed political party, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and National Security Adviser(NSA) to quickly intervene before things get out of hand.

 “Two weeks ago, Doo-Akpo men were seen around 1:20am at Onobom community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state while escorting known thugs and cultists on a speedboat owned by a serving local government chairman. Dickson and the PDP have never won any violent-free elections in the state; therefore, we call for its immediate ban before the Nov 16th governorship election in the state.”

The police have, however, been reassuring residents that they will deal decisively with troublemakers. The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 5, Dibal Yakadi, first visited the state on consultative meeting with stakeholders.

He assured that the police were prepared for the election in Bayelsa saying that every polling unit would be manned by five policemen. Yakadi said striking units would be deployed in all the local government areas, adding that the striking forces on arrival would liaise with all the stakeholders.

In fact, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, further led a delegation of senior police officers from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, to Bayelsa. He came in the company of the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, for another consultative stakeholders meeting. It was also the second time the INEC National Chairman was visiting Bayelsa for a similar mission.

In the presence of the IG, Yakubu and the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers’ Council, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, candidates of 42 political parties signed peace accord promising to eschew violence during the election. Diri and Lyon were among those who signed the documents.

Yakubu said INEC was committed to a free, fair, credible, peaceful and conclusive poll in the state. He said the commission had delivered all non-sensitive materials to their office in Yenagoa and warned against inducement of voters.

He said: “The materials have been sorted out, categorized and batched, ready to be delivered to the LGAs, wards and polling units. The sensitive materials are also ready and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is delivering them to Bayelsa State this weekend. Voter inducement in all forms, including vote-buying at polling units, is a violation of the law.

“The ban on the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices in the voting cubicles is still in force and will be strictly enforced and monitored. I urge all stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election.

“It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the process and to protect all election duty staff, including the Youth Corps members who serve at the polling units which is the basic level of the voting process.

“I urge all stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the process and to protect all election duty staff, including the youth corps members who serve at the polling units which is the basic level of the voting process”.

On his part, Adamu said the force would deploy no fewer than 32, 000 officers for election duty during the Bayelsa gubernatorial poll. Adamu, who assured maximum security during and after the election in the state, said the police was ready to protect lives and property, especially in all the polling units.

“All security arrangements have been made. The Police Force will deploy 32, 000 personnel to the state during the period of the governorship poll. The Police will ensure that all electoral materials are well secured. We urge all politicians and the electorates, especially the youths to stay away from disorder.

“Do not cause trouble at the polling units or conduct any illegal activity that is capable of disrupting election processes. You must not allow yourselves to be used as that because if you are caught, you will be prosecuted according to the law. This election is an isolated one and we must do what we can to achieve peace”.

(The Nation)

Source: News Express

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