Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, Sunday bemoaned the alleged killing of 40 persons of Ijaw extraction in Rivers State during the last general election in the country.
Dickson, who listed the locations of the deaths as Abonemma and Buguma in Rivers, called on Ijaw politicians to stop aiding the killing of innocent citizens in the area in their desperation for political advantages.
A statement by Fidelis Soriwei, Dickson’s Special Adviser on Media Relations, noted that the governor spoke when he paid a condolence visit to the Amayanabo of Kalabari Kingdom, King Theophilus Princewill, Amachree XI.
Dickson condemned the attitude of some politicians to deploy their federal links to the detriment of the people and called on Ijaw sons and daughters from the Niger Delta region who claim to have federal support, to use their contacts to accelerate development, promote peace and stability in the communities, clans and region.
He told his hosts that the visit was over the “killing of 38 indigenes of Abonnema and two others in Buguma, Rivers State, by soldiers during the February 23, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly elections”.
He urged the federal government to identify and prosecute the security operatives involved in the slaughter of innocent people in Rivers and Bayelsa States and elsewhere in Ijawland during the last elections.
Dickson stressed that the murder of innocent people in the guise of providing security in an election in the peace loving Ijaw communities of Bayelsa and Rivers was undeserved and indeed unacceptable.
“The federal government needs to identify and bring to book all those soldiers who carried out the dastardly murder in Abonnema and other places in Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State as well as those who killed and maimed and destroyed property in Bayelsa State and other Ijaw communities. We, the Ijaw people are a peace loving people and don’t deserve this assault,” he said.
He described the visit to the palace of the monarch as a sober one, noting that Bayelsa State also had its undeserved share of brutality and killings by soldiers during the elections.
The governor noted that the government buried two of those killed in Bayelsa, namely the Government House photographer, Mr. Reginald Dei and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Seidougha Taribi, who were killed in Oweikorogha, Southern Ijaw Local Government during the last elections.
Dickson, who commiserated with the entire Kalabari kingdom and families of the deceased, said the ancient kingdom suffered more bloodshed than any other community in the presidential election which he described as a contest between brothers and friends.
He commended the king for the peace and stability in his domain and sued for prayers for continued peace and development despite provocations and challenges.
He added that he would mobilise the leaders of the Ijaw nation to honour the revered Kalabari monarch on his 90th birthday in January, next year.
In his remarks, the Amayanabo of Kalabari Kingdom thanked the governor and his entourage for the condolence visit, which he described as timely and wise.
While lauding Dickson for his contributions to the development of Kalabari kingdom, he expressed sadness over the killings and wanton destruction of property by soldiers, not only in his kingdom but in the entire Ijawland and prayed against a reoccurrence.