Nigeria: Dickson Says 22 People Killed During Bayelsa Governorship Election

3 December 2019

The outgoing governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has alleged the murder of 12 members of his party, PDP, during the violence that characterised the recent governorship election in the state.

Apart from the 12, Mr Dickson said, 10 other residents of the state were beheaded during the polls.

According to the Nation newspaper, the governor made this allegation during an interactive session with reporters in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Dickson, quoting eye-witness accounts, said ten of those killed during the November 16 poll were "beheaded, mutilated and actually butchered" before they were thrown into the sea.

"So far, 12 deaths were recorded. Their offence was being PDP members and for attending PDP rally. We have not heard the last of the brutality they visited on law-abiding citizens in Nembe.

"They also beheaded, mutilated and actually butchered some citizens of the state. From eye-witness accounts, the people they slaughtered and butchered were close to 10," he said.

The governor said most of the electoral irregularities occurred in Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Yenagoa. Mr Dickson, whose party lost the election, accused the security operatives and electoral body of aiding irregularities during the poll through the careful selection of collated officers as against the usual procedure.

"What happened in Bayelsa State was not an election but a democratic coup. The results were pre-meditated as collation officers were carefully selected. It was the first time the collation officers, who were trained in Benin, were coming to Bayelsa State.

"These collation officers were guided by the military and protected by the police to rig the poll. In Nembe, militiamen took control, thumb-printed ballot papers and returned 80,000 votes for APC.

"In Ogbia, they came up with 50,000 votes which had never been the case in the electoral history of the state. In Yenagoa, the area with the largest votes, they arrested, harassed and shot down PDP supporters. As we are talking, a number of PDP supporters are still in custody.

"Some electoral officers were so angry that they have sworn to affidavits to expose what the military and the police did. They confessed that they sat down and wrote the figures," he alleged.

He also vowed to continue to contest the eligibility of APC's governorship candidate, David Lyon, to a logical conclusion in court and election petitions tribunal.

"As lovers of peace and firm believers in democratic process, we have no option than to use the existing legal process/ structure for redress. We will continue the battle at the Federal High Court and the Election Petitions Tribunal," he revealed.

Mr Dickson set up a panel of inquiry on the reported killings during the election in the state.

The electoral commission, INEC, declared Mr Lyon of the APC the winner of the Bayelsa governorship election.

INEC announced that Mr Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Duoye Diri of the PDP who polled 143,172 votes.

The election has been declared and free and fair by the APC which said security operatives thwarted moves by the PDP to rig the election.

The Bayelsa governorship election, like that of Kogi, held the same day, was criticised by observers and journalists who said it was characterised by violence, vote-buying and very late arrival of election materials.

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