- Senator Lokpobiri has spoken about Bayelsa government's moves to investigate violence during the just concluded 2019 general election in the state
- Lokpobiri said the commission of inquiry set up by government is a ploy to divert attention from the main issue of Governor Seriake Dickson’s alleged mal-administration
- According to the minister, the panel is illegal and strange to the extant laws governing elections, including the electoral act and the constitution
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for agriculture, said the commission of inquiry set up by Bayelsa government to investigate violence during the 2019 general election in the state is a ploy to divert attention.
Lokpobiri also described his invitation to appear before the panel as attempt to distract people of the state from the real issue of Governor Seriake Dickson’s alleged mal-administration in the past seven years.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister made this known in a statement by his special adviser on media, George Oji, on Sunday, March 24. He noted the said panel was illegal and strange to the extant laws governing elections, including the electoral ectoral act and the constitution.
The Bayelsa chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had distanced itself from the panel and urged its members not to appear before it.
APC spokesman, Doifie Buokoribo, said the PDP government in Bayelsa had no moral rights to be a judge in an election it partook in.
The panel led by Justice Iniekade Eradiri inaugurated by Dickson shortly after the Presidential and National Assembly elections had invited prominent APC leaders including Lokpobiri to appear before it in Yenagoa.
But the minister said the concern of the impoverished people of Bayelsa was how to account for the huge resources that accrued to the state under Dickson.
Lokpobiri said Dickson should give account of his stewardship to Bayelsans on how he expended huge financial accruals to the state, which stood at N1.4 trillion.
He said: “As we speak, the money that has accrued to the state has increased to N1.4 trillion and there is nothing to show for it. Let Dickson give proper account of this.
“Let Dickson forget about the so-called commission of inquiry and give proper account of how this money has been spent.
“This is also a wake-up call to people of Bayelsa that this is an attempt by Dickson to divert attention from the real issues of corruption and deliberate impoverishment of our people.''
He added: “Bayelsa people should begin to interrogate Dickson concerning the volume of money that has come to the state, including the bailout funds, the loans, as well as the domestic and foreign loans.
“The people should try to match it with the projects and what is on the ground. That is what Bayelsans want to know."
Lokpobiri challenged Dickson to public debate to explain his stewardship in office. He maintained that the panel was unnecessary and that there was no single political violence involving the APC in Bayelsa during the last elections.
Dickson had on February 24 alleged that the APC led by ex-governor Timipre Sylva and Lokpobiri had colluded with the military to unleash violence and manipulate the polls and hence the justification for setting up the panel.
The spokesman of the 16 Brigade, Major Jonah Danjuma, promptly denied the allegations and said that troops averted violence by arresting some political thugs during the polls.
Legit.ng previously reported that Heineken Lokpobiri debunked claims that he led 3,000 defectors from the ruling APC to the PDP.
Lokpobiri said he dissociates himself from the alleged report as he remains a strong and committed member of the ruling party.
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