Police meets with ex-militants ahead of Bayelsa elections

Eme Okon, Calabar

Ahead of Saturday’s supplementary elections across 101 polling units and Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, the Bayelsa State Police Command has held a closed door meeting with ex-militant leaders.
The spokesperson for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat told some journalists in Yenagoa, the capital city that the meeting, which was held behind closed doors on Monday, was fruitful.
Though Butswat did not give further details on the meeting, sources close to the command indicated that some ex-militant leaders avoided the gathering.
It was gathered that the Police Command invited ex-militant leaders based on security report that the January 9, 2016 supplementary polls across 101 units in Ekeremor, Sagbama, Ogbia, Nembe and Southern Ijaw LGA would be marred.
It was also gathered that only two ex-militant leaders, Reuben Wilson and Joshua Machiver attended the event, while prominent ex-agitators like, Mr. Ebikabowei Victor-Ben known as Boyloaf of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Wari Digefa, Silke Kiletorughedi also known as “Young Shall Grow” amongst others snubbed the meeting.
A Ploy
Further investigations revealed that some of the ex-militants leaders, who spurned the gathering, saw the meeting as a ploy to effect an arrest till after the re-scheduled poll.
Validating the views of those who shunned the parley, a group known as Patriots of Ijaw Nation, PIN, in a statement, attributed the poor attendance to the meeting to “a lack of trust in the motives of the Police”.
The statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Kesiye Newman, indicated “the meeting was a plot to arrest and detain ex-militant leaders till after the Southern Ijaw elections”.
It would be recalled that on December 5, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cancelled the governorship election held in Southern Ijaw, which was largely marred by violence.
UO