A civil society organization, Niger Delta Peace Network (NDPN) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the minister of state for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri to order over what it called his secret funding of a violent group ahead of the verdict of the Appeal Court on the governorship case between Governor Seriake Dickson and former governor Timipre Sylva.
The NDPN alleged in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by Comrade Theodore Tolumoye, the group’s spokesman on Tuesday that the minister had been recruiting a killer squad to unleash mayhem on the state in case the appeal court ruling does not favour his principal, Sylva.
“Lokpobiri was director general of the defeated APC governorship candidate whose petition against Governor Dickson was thrown out by the Justice Alogba led governorship election tribunal. But the junior minister has been funding the appeal with funds received as kickbacks from contractors, one of which the alleged N2 billion he was alleged to have been paid by two fertilizer suppliers.
“We are very worried that this can be happening right under the watchful eyes of the current administration that has been professing transparency and accountability in every nook and corner. The president must call Lokpobiri to order because he has been causing tension in Bayelsa state in the last three weeks by his secret meetings whereas he pretends to be doing official functions.
“Three weeks ago, so after the appeal court reserved judgement, Lokpobiri led a team of APC supporters whom he claimed to be farmers and incited violence. For the three days that he camped the hoodlums, most of whom are ex militants, the state capital, Yenagoa was under tension as same orchins unleashed violence on suspected non-APC members in the name of protecting their leader.
“Just two days ago, Lokpobiri has visited the state with the same aim of inciting the same set of APC youths. Shortly after he left his hotel premises, which he used as the venue of a phony sports minitry programme, these youths caused violence and even robbed some unsuspecting passers-by along the road leading to his hotel,” the statement said.