Bayelsa Guber: Group calls for prosecution of 2015 electoral violence offenders


By Our Correspondent

Ahead of the November 11 Governorship election in Bayelsa State, a coalition of Pro-Democracy organizations, under the banner of Justice and Accountability has called for the immediate implementation of the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the violence that marred the 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State.

In a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Comrade John Atani, the coalition also called for the prosecution of indicted politicians for their role in the violence, which led to the killing of some citizens of the State and the destruction of several properties.

The statement noted that the state government must act urgently, noting that “Justice delayed is justice denied, and it is time to right the wrongs of the past.”

It said the action “must include the prosecution of the killers of Roland Yinkore in Ekeremor town in Ekeremor Local Government Area, Simeon Otor also in Ekeremor and Isaac Godgift.”

The statement reads in part: The 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State was marred by widespread violence, intimidation, and electoral malpractice. It was a dark chapter in our democratic history, where there was a brazen attempt at ensuring that the voices of the people were drowned out by acts of political thuggery and lawlessness. Families lost loved ones, homes were destroyed, and the entire electoral process was undermined.

“Aftermath of the unprecedented election violence, a Civic Organisation named Save Ijaw Nation Group, conducted an independent investigation into the incident and afterwards, presented a 285 page report, which identified the places, victims, perpetrators and sponsors of the violence, which erupted during the December 2015 Governorship election.

“Subsequently, the government of Bayelsa State constituted the Justice Margaret Akpomiemie (rtd) Judicial Commission of Inquiry, which was established to investigate the violence and its perpetrators, submitted its report years ago. Yet, to our dismay, the findings and recommendations of this report have remained largely unimplemented. This is a blatant injustice to the people of Bayelsa State and a disregard for the principles of justice and the rule of law.

“It therefore demands that “Those politicians indicted by the Commission’s report, including Chief Timipre Sylva, must face the full weight of the law. Nobody should be above the law, and political office should not be a shield against accountability.

“The victims and their families who suffered as a result of the election violence deserve justice. This includes compensation for the loss of lives and properties and support for the rehabilitation of those who were affected.

“We call upon the federal government and stakeholders to take urgent steps to reform the electoral process and ensure that such violence and malpractice do not happen again in future elections. A transparent, free and fair electoral system is essential for the stability and progress of our democracy”, the statement read.

He said the coalition is concerned that it is only through the pursuit of justice that we can heal the wounds of the past and move forward as a society that upholds the values of democracy and the rule of law.