Elections: Bayelsa warns against violence

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…vows to prosecute offenders

The Bayelsa State Government Thursday warned against electoral violence and vowed to use the instrumentality of the law to punish anyone or group found to be disrupting the existing peace in the state.

The government at its 104th Executive Council meeting said it deliberated extensively on a report before it that some politicians in the state were stockpiling arms for the purpose of causing mayhem.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Arthur Andrew Seweniowor said the government would not fold its hands and watch unscrupulous politicians turn the state into a killing field.

He said the government would not allow what happened during the 2015 and 2016 governorship election to repeat itself, stressing that it had a constitutional mandate to protect lives and property.

He maintained that elections were not war but a healthy contest to pick leaders and called on youths not to allow themselves to be used by selfish politicians to commit atrocities.

Seweniowor said: “The violence that characterized the 2015 governorship election is still fresh in our minds. If you recall the government did set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the crisis that engulfed parts of the state in course of the election.

“A white paper was later produced after the panel submitted their report. It is sad to note that those indicted in that report are still the same persons who are stockpiling arms today.

“We want to make it clear that on no account will anyone be allowed to launch a reign of terror and brigandage. We are determined to bring anyone or group of persons found culpable to book. We call on our youths not to allow themselves to be deployed as tools for electoral violence and manipulation”.

On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson said opposition politicians in the state were not preparing for elections but war.

Iworiso-Markson said because the opposition was unpopular, it had resorted to creating instability and turning the state into a theatre of war.

He appealed to parents and guardians to talk to their children to stay away from desperate politicians and their evil plots.

According to him, rather than take up arms, they should keep their PVCs closer in order to elect responsible leaders that will bring more development to the state.

He said: “We have said it over and over again that the opposition party in the state is not pretending about their intentions to cause violence and pave the way for the hijack of electoral materials by their hired thugs. They are preparing for war and not election.

“These diaspora politicians have not contributed anything to the development of our state. They only come back home when there is election and because of their lack of popularity they institute violent means to get into power”.

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