17 January 2018

Nigeria: N'Delta Groups Urge Govt to Grill Minister, Ex-Governor Over Dickson's Claims

Yenagoa — Two Niger Delta groups, the Peremabiri Development Association (PDA) and the Association of Concerned Bayelsa Professionals (ACBP) on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take seriously Governor Seriake Dickson's allegations that some politicians in the region were backing some deadly militants.

Specifically, the groups urged the federal government to direct the security agencies to investigate the claim that ex-Governor Timipre Sylva and current Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, were among those sponsoring violence in the state.

But the two politicians had in separate statements denying the insinuations, flayed Dickson, stressing that the governor's allegation were baseless and therefore could not be substantiated.

While Lokpobiri argued that Dickson had become notorious for abusing respected Niger Delta leaders, Sylva urged the governor to focus on governance rather than mount a campaign of calumny against him.

National Secretary of ACBP, Dr Jasper Oborotobou, in a statement in Yenagoa, urged the President to prevail on the various security agencies to carry out holistic investigations into the issues raised by the governor.

He said the issues raised by the governor had to do with the lives of the Bayelsa youths and indeed the wellbeing of the state and shouldn't be treated with levity.

He said: "We the members of the Association of Concerned Bayelsa Professionals have found it necessary to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order a holistic investigation to the alarm raised by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, that politicians in the state are sponsoring violence for the purpose of electoral contest.

"The decision of our respected organisation taken at an emergency meeting of the organisation in Yenagoa on Monday is based on the unanimous belief that the issues raised by the governor have to do with the entire wellbeing of our dear state. Therefore, neutrality cannot be an option.

"As stakeholders in the Bayelsa project, we call on the security agencies to investigate the issues raised by the governor and ensure the prosecution of those found to have contributed to violence and crime in the society irrespective of status."

The group challenged Lokpobiri to come clean on his relationship with the militant leader at the Ekeremor axis of Bayelsa State, Kareowi, who was recently killed by the military.

They wondered why the minister did not report the matter to the police or how the militant leader he claimed not to have met threatened him by firing shots into the river, stressing that it was a case of a relationship gone bad.

Also, the PDA in a statement by its chairman, Chief Awolowo Wasiri and Secretary, Chief Profit Enoch, accused a popular ex-militant who allegedly owns a rice farm in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa, of working in consonance with Lokpobiri to deceive Buhari to release huge sums of money to support the project.

They said there were other ulterior motives for the rice farm, noting that nothing about the ex-militant or the rice farm were for noble reasons.

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