Scores of women and youth on Tuesday staged a march at Nembe-Bassambiri community of Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over “intimidation by the state government to cow them into voting against their choices” in the forthcoming state Assembly elections.
The indigenes of Nembe-Bassambiri bore 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 was sacked by armed men is untrue.
Ingoebiye Braid, a woman leader in the area, said they are “faced with persecution” in the hands of the state government because of their political stance.
Speaking on the reason for the protest, Kombonimi Awo, the Community Development Committee (CDC) Secretary, debunked the reports that the community has been deserted due to violence between supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) during and after the presidential and National Assembly 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 running out of the community. The elders, chiefs, women and youth are going about their businesses without fear and molestation.
“There was 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 stage protest in the state capital are paid agents of stabilisation. The call for the cancellation of the last election is wicked and should not be honoured by INEC. We voted peacefully without intimidation.”
There had been reports that no fewer than 1,000 persons had fled and taken refuge in Yenagoa and neighbouring communities in Bayelsa as a result of activities of thugs sponsored by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and that they had mounted illegal road blocks.
The reports also claimed that the alleged sponsored thugs had resisted soldiers and policemen deployed to the area.
However, when SaharaReporters correspondent visited the community, people were seen going about their lawful activities with markets and schools opened for their daily activities.