- Bayelsa: Election didn’t hold in Southern Ijaw on December 6 –Witnesses
From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
BAYELSA State Governor, Seriake Dickson declared, yesterday, that members of the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) are criminals.
Dickson, who made the declaration during a meeting with representatives of international oil companies and security chiefs at the conference room of the Governor’s Office, said a solution must be found to criminal activities in the Niger Delta.
Dickson declared the meeting open and decried killings of security personnel, innocent citizens and the vandalism of oil installations by the NDA. He insisted that members of the militant group are criminals and economic saboteurs.
He called for concerted efforts to arrest the ugly trend, adding that the activities of criminal elements are sending wrong signals to foreign investors.
“The way forward is for all stakeholders to discuss the issues and the need for the Federal Government to tread with caution and not adopt a military approach as a means to solve the problem. No one person can protect the assets in the remote areas of the region. I, therefore, call on those involved in this act of criminality and brigandage to stop forthwith,” Dickson added.
The state’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukah said the meeting had resolved to engage various communities in the region in a dialogue to put an end to the recent upsurge in criminal activities.
Mukah said investigation by security showed that some oil-producing communities were not happy with the award of the surveillance contract by the oil companies to non-indigenes.
Meanwhile, Dickson called 12 witnesses at the state governorship election tribunal to prove there was no election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on December 6, 2015.
In their separate evidence at the tribunal, the witnesses said the only election that took place in the area was that of January 9, 2016.
Led in evidence by Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Dickson’s counsel, the witnesses testified to the credibility and peaceful conduct of the January 9, 2016 election.
In his evidence, Bilade Ezekiel, who voted at polling unit 15, ward 10, said there was no election in his community on December 6, 2015 as a result of violence.
Alamene Emmanuel also gave evidence to the fact that no election took place on December 6, 2015. Emmanuel, who disclosed that he voted at unit 12, ward 14 of his community, testified to the credibility of the January 9 election in the council area.
Others, who gave evidence at the tribunal, were Uromo Kenoll; David Thomas; Paul Simon; Ogidi Solomon; Albert Jeff; John Joshua and Osaribie Macdonald.
Under cross-examination by counsel to the petitioners, Sabastine Hon (SAN), some of them made contradictory statements.