Scores of Women and Youths Tuesday staged march at Nembe- Bassambiri community of Nembe Local Government of Bayelsa State over alleged intimidation by the state government to cow them into voting against their choices in the forthcoming state Assembly elections .
The indigenes of Nembe-Bassambiri ,who were armed with various placards with inscriptions such as “Governor H.S. Dickson stop the Killings of APC members in Nembe-Bassambiri “ “Seven years in office no single project in Nembe-Bassambiri “ and “Toru-Orua for PDP while Nembe- Bassambiri is for APC” ,they insisted that the claim that the community is sacked by armed men is fake and untrue.
Madam Ingoebiye Braid , a woman leader in the area, said they are faced with persecution in the hands of state government because of their political stance .
In his speech, the Chairman of the United Elders Forum of Nembe-Bassanbiri, Elder John Twonmote, said though the conduct of elections might have had some issues in other areas, “the last election Was The most freest of all. All the lies being whipped up by the State Government and their agents are lies. ”
Also speaking, Kombonimi Awori, Community Development Committee (CDC)Secretary debunked that community is deserted due to violence between PDP and APC during and after the presidential elections.
“People are carrying rumours and are being sponsored by the Bayelsa Government that the community has been deserted but all these are false.Nobody is runing out of the community. The elders, Chiefs , Women and youths are going about their businesses without fears and molestations “
“There is no fight or crisis in the community during and after the National Assembly and Presidential Elections.The only people that are out of the community are those hired with fake uniforms and thugs“
“The rumours that the whole community has vacated is pure lie.Those paid to staged protest in the state capital are paid agents of stabilisation.The calls for the cancellation of the last election is wicked and should not be honoured by INEC. We voted peacefully without intimidation.“
It would be recalled that reports had claimed that no fewer than 1000 persons have fled and taken refuge in Yenagoa and neighbouring communities as a result of activities of thugs sponsored by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and that they have mounted illegal road blocks.
The report also claimed that the alleged sponsored thugs have resisted the soldiers and policemen deployed in the area.
Some Women, who also claimed to be indigenes of Opu Nembe in Nembe Bassambiri cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Indepedent National Electoral Commission to suspend the forthcoming election in the troubled community.
Spokesperson of the Women, Mrs. Sotonye Samuel-Johnson, said in a statement on Monday that the call to postpone the election in the violence ridden community was necessary to safeguard the lives and properties of women and children in the area.
Samuel-Johnson said that women and children who fled the community to nearby Ogbolomabiri and Yenagoa have not been able to return to their community because of the violence being perpetrated by thugs backed by the Army led by Major A. Modibbo Commander of JTF in Nembe.
She urged the President to direct urgent investigations to the activities of the thugs and their Army collaborators which according to her had assumed a frightening dimension.
Samuel-Johnson said that the thugs had become so emboldened to the extent of sacking detachments of Mobile policemen and operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence deployed to maintain order in the community.
She stressed that it had become clearly unsafe for the women folks and their children to return to Nembe Bassambiri during the tensed election period.
She stated further that the Army which was equipped to deal with such instances of violence had looked the other way for the thugs being led by one Sam Kodjo, an oil surveillance contractor, to subject the community to violence.
She argued that it would be fool hardy on the part of the women, and their families to return to the besieged communities without being guaranteed of their safety by the security agencies especially the Army which she said has become compromised in the area.
She said, “We the Opu Nembe Women are making this frantic appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Indepedent Electoral Commission to postpone the forthcoming House òf Assembly election in Nembe Bassambiri as a means of safeguarding the lives of women and children in the area.