As the December 5, gubernatorial elections draw near, key political figures in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been stockpiling arms and weapons, according to SaharaReporters investigations.
SaharaReporters inquiries in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, have found from several independent sources that political figures in both the PDP and APC have began gathering light arms ahead of the polls.
One correspondent in Bayelsa State has found that the Sylva and Dickson camps have contracted the services of former militant leaders, despite the signing of a Peace Pact on Tuesday aimed at eliminating poll violence.
Statements by the Bayelsa State police confirmed SaharaReporters investigations on Thursday. The Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Bayelsa State, Asinim Butswat, announced that police recovered arms in the Okutukutu area of Yenagoa.
He said “at about 0630hrs on Thursday, based on a tip that arms and ammunition were being kept in a room on Tamic Road in Okutukutu, a team of detectives stormed the residence finding AR automatic riffles, ammunition“ and other weapons hidden at the location.
“The occupants of the house, one Sunday Akpan and Emmanuel Monday were arrested,“ according to PRO Butswat. He added that the suspects were cooperating with police and that the investigation was ongoing.
Public endorsements of political parties by former militant leaders have exacerbated fears in the State, according to local residents who worry that political agitation could easily spawn violence.
Informants speaking to SaharaReporters have disclosed that plans between former militant leaders and politicians have been hatched in hotels throughout Yenagoa.
A passenger boat operator revealed that all his boats have been booked and rented by former militant groups for elections. One operator disclosed the former militants “have hired all my boats, twelve of them for election (day) and they even asked me to arrange more. I am making contact with other boat owners and all those I called said their boats are all also taken.“