Bayelsa: INEC cancels governorship poll in Southern Ijaw as violence claims four


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled the governorship election exercise in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

It followed the early morning violence that erupted in the area leading to the death of at least four people.

An ex-militant, simply identified as Ogunbos, allegedly led thugs to open fire on the local government headquarters in Oporoma as early as 6am to disrupt the distribution of election materials.

Three of the invaders were reportedly killed as security forces battled to restore normalcy while fourth victim was said to have been killed by spray bullet.

Eyewitnesses say the number is significantly more than four.

It was gathered that the spate of shootings forced many of the residents stay indoor for fear of being hit in the cross fire just as election materials according to a source could not leave the highly tensed area.

No fewer than 45 suspects have been arrested by security operatives.

Multiple sources reported violence and apathy in most parts of the state with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and close challenger All Progressives Congress (APC) trading accusations over the development.

The Bayelsa Police Command however assured that normalcy had been restored in Oporoma.

Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Asinim Butswat, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa.

Butswat said the command had received report of a clash by rival groups which disrupted the electoral process in the area.

He said one person was injured during the clash, while the police arrested some suspects in the process.

“We have made some arrests and normalcy has been restored in the area. Security reinforcement was sent to Oporoma and we can say that the electoral process had commenced there,” he said.

He said information available to the police showed that no life was lost during the clash.

He also said that accreditation had commenced in some parts of the area.

“We are recording success in other local government areas such as Brass, Nembe, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa,” the police spokesman said.

He said the governorship election in these areas had been peaceful while security agents were on high alert to check any breach of the law.