Military nabs 17 for violence that marred Bayelsa governorship election

Posted by Arodiegwu Eziukwu, Yenagoa | 13 December 2015 | 3,074 times

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The military on Saturday said that no fewer than 17 suspects were arrested in connection with the violence that characterised the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Monday cancelled results from Southern Ijaw LGA and declared the Bayelsa election inconclusive.

The election in Southern Ijaw was earlier shifted from Dec. 5 to 6 and continued till the early hours of Monday Dec. 7.

Brig.-Gen. Stephenson Olabanji, Commander, 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, told newsmen in Yenagoa that the election duty was coordinated the Operation Safe Conduct comprising all security agencies under his watch.

Olabanji who explained the role played by security agencies said that despite the presence of the troops and other security agencies, some thugs armed with dangerous weapons tried to disrupt the smooth process of the election.

He said troops were deployed in all the eight local government Areas of the state for the election, but noted that some areas like Southern Ijaw and Ekeremor were more volatile than the others.

His words: “In Ekeremor local government Area, three youths were apprehended with suspected stolen 30 PVCs .

“Similarly, on 6th December 2015, along Olugbobiri River, a speed boat carrying 9 persons was intercepted carrying 5 AK47 riffles and some ammunition.

“The suspects were duly handed over to the Nigerian police for further investigations.

“In Southern Ijaw, troops met a highly tensed situation caused by members of contending political parties.

“There was also information on the high influx of arms into the communities particularly in Oporoma, the headquarters of the local government.

“Sporadic gunshots were later heard from Oporoma where it was discovered that unidentified rival gunmen had entered the community in attempt to storm the INEC Collation Centre and hijack sensitive materials.”

The Commander noted that it was as a result of the action that led to the swift response by the Operation Safe Conduct to track down the materials.

“Consequently, there was exchange of fire which led to the arrest of 5 suspects and recovery of 5 AK 47 riffles and some ammunition, and the suspects also handed over to the police,” he explained further.

Olabanji also recalled how the election was postponed to the following day, 6 December, 2015 to enable the tension in the area to calm down, but revealed that it was the unfortunate and sudden appearance of one of the candidates that further fueled the already charged atmosphere in Oporoma.

He urged Bayelsa people to be wary of armed men who might be dressed in the uniform of security agencies without proper identification, while reiterating the commitment of his command to boost the confidence of the civilian populace.

•Photo shows Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin.

Source: News Express

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