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Guber polls: Security concerns heighten in Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa

ecurity concerns heighten in Kogi Imo Bayelsa

Few months to the gubernatorial elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States, security threat remains a major concern for residents, political parties and the electoral umpire.

FLYINGEZE BLOG reports that except security agencies are able to quell the activities of dreaded bandits, unknown gunmen, and political thugs, the elections may be breached by non state actors.

Already, the activities of some criminal elements who are currently on the prowl, unleashing mayhem on unsuspecting citizens, particularly in Kogi and Imo, have raised concerns.

While Kogi’s election may be marred by the activities of thugs as observed in the last general elections, Imo electorates and INEC officials may have the unknown gunmen to contend with.

Security situation in Bayelsa State is also worrisome as gunmen and suspected herdsmen are on rampage, attacking both farmers, civilians and even security operatives.


Recently, there have been reported cases of attacks on some political stalwarts, with members of political parties continuing to clash across the state.

On June 3, the Kogi State government claimed that the convoy of Governor Yahaya Bello was attacked by supporters of his political rival, Muritala Ajaka.

Mr Ajaka is the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP. He was a member of the governor’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, until he was edged out in the party’s governorship primary.

The State’s Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, claimed that Governor Bello escaped death when his motorcade was allegedly attacked by the SDP candidate. According to the commissioner, some of the governor’s aides suffered injuries during the attack.

But on September 30, there was a report of an alleged attack on the SDP campaign rally at Koton-Karfe during which several persons were injured.

Prior to the Koton-Karfe incident, the gubernatorial campaign council of the SDP raised an alarm alleging that the state governor, Yahaya Bello, and the police commissioner, Berthrand Onuoha, were nursing plans to attack the party’s supporters. The police had since debunked the allegations.

In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for the November election, Senator Dino Melaye on Thursday, October 12, revealed that he survived four assassination attempts in the state.

The former lawmaker blamed the attempts on the ruling APC, stressing that violence is “in the DNA” of the party.

“I have been attacked several times. It is not new, as it is in the DNA of the APC to be violent. Kogi State is like an evil forest that needs instantaneous redevelopment and needs a messiah”, he said.

Speaking on the matter, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP William Ovye Aya told FLYINGEZE BLOG on Saturday that the command has had series of engagements with relevant stakeholders and opinion leaders for all parties to “give peace a chance”.

Asked what the command is doing to ensure a peaceful election, the PPRO said, “the command has been engaging the stakeholders. The Commissioner of Police summoned them and we have been having a series of meetings regarding election security.

“The Commissioner has also visited the Attah of Igala and other stakeholders in the state. He was in Anyigba, he was in Ida to talk to them on the need to shun every form of violence and give peace a chance so that everybody will exercise their franchise.

“We have been engaging party leaders also and we will continue to engage them on the need to talk to their supporters to stop violence.

“We have also reached out to religious leaders to talk to people in the Church and Mosque. We have met several community leaders asking them to talk to their community people.

“We have also called several meetings involving our tactical and operational commanders, as well as the DPOs across the state. We talked to them on how they can also engage stakeholders at their divisional levels.

“We told them that nobody should be allowed to attack another person and anybody who is caught will definitely be prosecuted according to the law.

“We have been speaking via radio stations. Last week, we have also been having a series of training all targeted at ensuring peaceful elections in the state.”


Imo State, particularly Oru East and Orlu Local Government Areas of the state are said to be the operational Headquarters of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and its militant wing, the Eastern Security Network, ESN.

FLYINGEZE BLOG reports that the agitators who are suspected to be the faces behind the activities of the daredevil unknown gunmen in the region, had warned that there would be no elections in Imo State.

The self-acclaimed Prime Minister of the Biafra Republic Government in Exile, Simon Ekpa had ruled out the possibility of conducting any election in the Southeastern region, saying they want Biafra liberation.

The dreaded gunmen who are suspected to be loyalists of Ekpa have continued to unleash terror on security operatives in Imo and other parts of the region with several government facilities attacked and destroyed.

Prior to the last general elections, the assailants killed some INEC officials, police and military officers and destroyed the facilities of the electoral umpire.

FLYINGEZE BLOG recalls that about 100 National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members who were trained to serve as adhoc staff in the last election were frightened by the activities of the gunmen and withdrew from participating in the polls.

Speaking on the current tension in Imo State ahead of the November election, the President General of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem, told FLYINGEZE BLOG that the election may not hold in certain places where the bloodthirsty miscreants have held hostage.

Ibem called on the Federal and the State Government to ensure that the lives of citizens in Imo State are secured before, during and after the election.

He stressed that the security of life and property is a fundamental human right of every individual, which should not be violated for any reason.

According to him, “in some areas in Imo State, voters will not be safe to go out to cast their votes on the election day. Places like Orlu and other Local Government Areas that are prone to insecurity, election may likely not hold there.

“The gunmen have been attacking people indiscriminately in those areas. Places like Owerri, the state capital may not have issues.

“The Federal Government should fight the insecurity in Imo to allow people exercise their franchise and cast their votes during the election.

“This should not even be about the election only. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the lives of its citizens. This has to do with the constitution. Every human being has the right to life and freedom of movement.

“The primary function of the government is to ensure that no citizen’s right is abused. By the time the citizens no longer have the right to life and freedom of movement, it means the government doesn’t exist.”


Although Bayelsa may be relatively peaceful compared to Imo and Kogi, there are criminal elements who have been disturbing the peace of several communities in the state.

FLYINGEZE BLOG recalls that the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council on August 25, raised the alarm over plots by some elements to stoke violence that could disrupt peace, law and order in the state, particularly in Brass, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas during the November 11 polls.

The alarm was raised by the Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council and Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, HRM King Bubaraye Dakolo, in Yenagoa.

Explaining further, King Dakolo said that traditional rulers from the three LGAs have gathered intelligence that there were plans to create politically orchestrated violence, ahead of the election.

He called on law enforcement agencies to not only verbally reassure the people of Bayelsa State but ensure that there is no spilling of blood before, during and after the gubernatorial elections.

FLYINGEZE BLOG reports that the alarm and other criminal activities in the state have instilled fear in the residents ahead of the governorship election.

However, speaking with FLYINGEZE BLOG on Saturday, the Bayelsa State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Butswat Asinim said there was no cause for alarm, stressing that the election would be peaceful.

He said although there was some level of security crisis in the state, it was not beyond control.

“So far, we have made necessary arrangements to ensure that there is no breach of peace during the campaign and the elections.

“For now, there is no security crisis in the state that we cannot handle. Though we may have some glitches but certainly not something that is beyond control.

“We urge all members of the public to continue to cooperate with the police and ensure that we maintain the existing peace and improve on it”, he added.

FLYINGEZE BLOG recalls that the electoral umpire had also expressed concern over the rising insecurity ahead of the gubernatorial polls in the three states.

In a statement issued on October 9 by its National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, the INEC also lamented that despite efforts to ensure that party leaders warned their supporters against actions capable of jeopardising the peaceful conduct of elections in Nigeria, attacks had continued in parts of the states.

The INEC commissioner, while appealing to political parties and their candidates to avoid actions and utterances capable of heating up the polity, said, “The commission is concerned about the spate of insecurity and violence, including clashes among supporters of political parties and candidates in the forthcoming elections”.

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