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Bayelsa rerun: Police summon ex-militants, others to meeting

SYLVA_DICKSONThe police authorities in Bayelsa State have invited ex-militant leaders to a meeting ahead of the state governorship election rerun rescheduled to Saturday, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.

The meeting is to hold on Monday.

Also summoned to the parley, it was learnt, were some supporters of the All Progressives Congress and other stakeholders in the state.

It could not be ascertained why the meeting was summoned but it was learnt that it was not unconnected with the widespread violence and ballot box snatching that marred the poll in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on December 6, 2015.

The irregularities in Southern Ijaw were said to have been orchestrated by some ex-militant leaders in tandem with compromised security operatives.
A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting, which would take place in a yet-to-be-known venue in Yenagoa, was summoned by the state Police Command.

It was gathered that apart from the ex-agitators, the invitation was extended to the relevant stakeholders in the state.

However, the invitation was said to be generating tension in the Peoples Democratic Party camp, as the party’s supporters felt they were left out of the planned meeting.

The police, in a copy of the invitation letter dated December 31, 2015, and sent to one of the ex-militant leaders, Eris Paul, popularly known as Ogunboss, asked the former agitators to appear on January 4.

The meeting was summoned by the state police command through the Office of the State Intelligence Bureau led by Ondo Gbekumo.
The contents of the letter indicated that attendance to the meeting was compulsory.

The letter stated, “The attendance to the meeting by ex-militant leaders is mandatory as issues bordering on threat to security on the January 9, 2016 election will be discussed.”

Also invited to the meeting was Mr. Africanus Ukparasia, popularly known as ‘General’ Africa, who openly supported President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 Presidential election.

Ogunboss however dismissed the invitation.
He said, “When did we become members of the state security agencies to be invited to security meeting? Nothing annoys me so much as receiving the invitation from a relative of Governor Seriake, Ondo Gbekumo.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Asinim Butswat, confirmed that the ex-militant leaders were formally invited as part of the stakeholders.
He said, “We have invited them for discussions. We are exploring every medium available to ensure a hitch-free election.”

Butswat, however, said he had yet to know the venue of the meeting.



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