Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday, said no fewer than 12 persons were killed and about 93 others injured in the violence unleashed on Nembe community in the build up to the November 16 governorship election in the state.
Dickson, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the victims were supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and were in Nembe for a political rally ahead of the election.
According to him, they came under attack by political thugs allegedly hired by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disrupt the rally.
Dickson described what happened in Nembe as a premeditated massacre, noting that those behind it were anti-democratic forces who wanted to win the election at all costs.
“The only offence of those killed or maimed was that they attended a political rally three days to the election. They were attacked by hoodlums loyal to the APC. They claimed that Nembe and Southern Ijaw were their territories and the PDP cannot hold rallies in these places.
“There are reports that to cover the number of the dead, they beheaded some of them, tore open their bowels and threw them into the river. In that way the human body would not float but sink to the bottom of the river,” he said.
The governor added that whereas the pre-election violence ought to have served as a red flag for the security agencies to prevent further violence, a worse round of violence was unleashed on the people of the state on election day.
He stated that his administration has set up an inquiry into the Nembe incident and the subsequent violence that rocked the state during the governorship poll.
“I am from the battlefield because what ordinarily should have been a democratic exercise for Bayelsans to choose their next governor was turned into a theatre of war. The truth is that there was no election. What happened was a mindless show of force and a tragedy of monumental proportion.
“Some of those who took part in the violence electoral fraud apparently under pressure from some politicians and compromised security operatives will one day tell their story to the world,” he said.
Dickson further said that given all that had happened, PDP loyalists in Bayelsa could have also returned fire for fire, but for his appeals to them not to resort to violence.
He also debunked the speculations that his party, PDP lost to the APC because he was arrogant, chose the wrong candidate and sidelined party leaders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, such narratives were deliberately put out in the media space to create the wrong impression that he was at loggerheads with Jonathan, who he described as his political mentor.
His words: “The former president remains my oga. I have no problem with him, but it suits some people to continue to spread that narrative that we are not on the same page. But let me tell you, we didn’t lose the election because we had a bad candidate. The electoral process was compromised ab initio and it doesn’t matter whom we presented for that election, we would still have had the same outcome because there was really no election.
“But the battle is not over yet. The struggle continues as they say aluta continua. Don’t forget that as at the date of the election, there were two court judgements proclaiming that the APC did not have a validly nominated candidate for that election, “he said.
Dickson said that in spite of the misgivings people may have against the courts, it was better to take the battle to court rather than resorting to self-help.