Bayelsa election violence panel, a smokescreen – Lokpobiri – The Punch

Bayelsa election violence panel, a smokescreen – Lokpobiri – The Punch

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Samuel Nkemakolem, Yenagoa

The Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, has described the judicial commission of inquiry set up by Governor Seriake Dickson to investigate alleged electoral violence as a smokescreen to divert attention from his maladministration.

Dickson had set up the panel to look into the violence that characterised the 2019 general elections in the state.

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The panel had earlier extended invitation to the minister, the former state governor, Timipre Sylva, and other All Progressives Congress appear before it.

But the minister in a statement by his media aide, George Orji, said the invitation was laughable.

He stated that the concern of the impoverished people of Bayelsa State is how to “interrogate the looting and misappropriation of the resources of the state by the governor” and not the diversionary issue of the commission of inquiry.

He was reacting to the invitation extended to him and some other chieftains of the APC to appear before the Justice Inikade Eradiri-led commission.

Lokpobiri urged Dickson to forget about the so-called commission of inquiry and face the task of explaining to Bayelsans how he expended the huge financial accruals to the state, which has now risen to a whopping N1.4trn.

“As we speak, the money that has accrued to the state has increased to N1.4trn and there is nothing to show for it. Let Dickson give proper account of this. Let Dickson forget about the so-called commission of inquiry and give proper account of how this money has been spent.

“This is also a wake-up call by Bayelsans that this is an attempt by Dickson to divert attention from the real issues of corruption and deliberate impoverishment of our people.

“Bayelsans should begin to interrogate Dickson concerning the volume of money that has come to the state, including the bailouts, the loans, as well as the domestic and foreign loans.

“The people should try to match it with the projects and what is on the ground. That is what Bayelsans want to know.”

While dismissing the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the governor as unnecessary and uncalled for, the minister maintained that there was no single political violence involving the APC in Bayelsa during the last elections in the state.

He stated that the only incident of violence he knew of was the killing of an APC member at Tungboabiri, Sagbama, which was allegedly perpetrated by one of Dickson’s thugs before the elections.

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