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Bayelsa: JTF Recovers Explosives, Ammunition Ahead Of Poll - Politics - Nairaland

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Bayelsa: JTF Recovers Explosives, Ammunition Ahead Of Poll by Johnnyessence(m): 3:07am On Dec 05, 2015
As the people of Bayelsa State go to the poll today (Saturday) to elect their next governor, the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta has seized hand grenades, AK 47 rifle magazines, among other items believed to be meant for disrupting the election.

The Task Force Commander, Major General Alani Okunlola, disclosed on Friday that the force had seized 36 hand grenades, two AK 47 rifle magazines, a pair of military uniform, combat boots and a bag containing personal belongings.

The weapons and other items were recovered from five suspected political thugs, according to the JTF.

Okunlola explained that the ammunition was recovered during an intensive patrol of Mansonkri Fishing Camp, Southern Ijaw Creek in Nembe and Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

He added that the arrest of the suspects was made on Thursday in their hideouts in Okaka, Yenagoa, the state capital.

Okunlola added that preliminary investigation was ongoing to determine the mission of the five arrested suspects.

He said, “On December 3, 2015, following a tip-off, our troops arrested five suspected political thugs in their hideouts at Okaka, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, while on patrol.

“They were arrested while in possession of 36 hand grenades, two empty AK 47 rifle magazines, a pair of military uniform, combat boots and a bag containing personal belongings.”

Meanwhile, residents have expressed palpable fear of violence in the state.

In Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, one of the eight council areas of the state, residents accused militants of threatening to unleash mayhem in the place.

Fear over possible violence in Bayelsa LGA

Some security operatives have also expressed apprehension following their posting to the Bayelsa Local Government Area, saying it is known to be volatile during election periods.

For example, a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was displeased when he noticed that he had been reposted to Southern Ijaw from Yenagoa.

The officer said he was shocked to find his name on the list of security operatives to work in Southern Ijaw after he had initially been posted to the capital city.

The police inspector said, “I am not happy. How could they have removed my name from the Yenagoa list and added to the list of policemen to cover Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. That place is always hot (dangerous) during election period.”

He also alleged that some hoodlums in the area had already sewn phony police and military uniforms with the intention of unleashing mayhem during the election.

“When you see people like police and soldiers shooting indiscriminately, do not think they are real soldiers. They are the hoodlums that are prepared to cause confusion and make the election difficult,” the officer said.

An indigene of Southern Ijaw Area, who identified himself as Fred, also expressed apprehension ahead of the conduct of the governorship election.

Fred said, “I advise my fellow Bayelsans to go and vote peacefully and avoid violence. The election should not be seen as a do-or-die affair.

“Southern Ijaw is volatile because majority of the militants are from there. So, we cannot predict what will happen tomorrow because we have been hearing rumours here and there.

“We hear that they (militants) are saying that they don’t want to see anyone vote for a particular party, but I don’t know why this is the case because no one should force anyone to vote for any party.”

Reacting to the alleged apprehension in Southern Ijaw, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said the police had made adequate deployment of operatives to deal “decisively” with any violent conduct.

Deployment of Armoured Personnel Carriers

In Yenagoa, three big armoured personnel carriers were seen moving to some unidentified areas of the state while scores of police trucks, loaded with security operatives, were also seen moving out of Yenagoa to other areas.

It was later learnt that the APCs would be stationed at some of the volatile areas on Election Day (today).

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Paritor Kpatih, had earlier, said that INEC did not experience any difficulty while sending election materials to the coastal areas, adding that the materials were dispatched with gunboats.

Hoodlums allegedly sewed fake police, army uniforms

There are allegations that some hoodlums in Southern Ijaw had sewn fake police and army uniforms.

Butswat told Saturday PUNCH that a unique tag would be used by security agents during the election for proper identification.

Describing the fear expressed by the residents as unnecessary, Butswat said that the police force had already carried out a risk assessment in all the areas in the state, including Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

He said, “It is a rumour. Our deployment is enough to deal decisively with any untoward occurrence. A unique tag will be used by security agents for proper identification. The police are adequately prepared to maintain law and order.

“We have deployed enough security personnel in all parts of the state, including Southern Ijaw. So, the residents should not panic. The police are on top of the situation. No fewer than 14,000 officers and men have been deployed in the state.”

He, therefore, urged the residents to go out and exercise their rights to vote without fear and intimidation.

Bank customers stranded, ATMs temporarily stopped

However, the mood in some banks was tense as customers were stranded as they could not gain entrance following early closure of operations.

It was observed that the United Bank for Africa, Marata Branch in Yenagoa, closed by 2pm as against the normal closing time of 4pm.

This caused some aggrieved customers to express anger over the decision of the bank.

Also, some residents who wanted to withdraw money on some Automated Teller Machines for the weekend experienced some delays.

Yenagoa residents travelling en masse to vote

It was also observed that some voters, who had registered in their various hometowns, were travelling en masse to participate in today’s governorship election.

One of such persons, who identified himself as Solomon, told Saturday PUNCH that it would be the first time Bayelsa would be facing “real and competitive election.”

Also, an indigene of the state, Timpre Okpogri, warned security operatives not to meddle with the electoral process, saying the people of the state would resist any attempt by any individual or persons to impose a leader on them.

Okpogri noted that the truckloads of policemen that were brought into the state might not be deployed beyond Yenagoa, the state capital.

He also noted that most parts of the state were riverine, warning that any security personnel that attempts to tamper with the electoral process would be dealt with.

He said, “Don’t give too much credit to those guys who call themselves policemen. You will see that they will not leave Yenagoa for the riverine areas. Have they been given enough boats?

“Even if some of them should venture to go to the riverine areas, they can’t influence the electoral process. Otherwise, they will be dealt with. This election is very important to us as a people.”

Copyright PUNCH.
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Re: Bayelsa: JTF Recovers Explosives, Ammunition Ahead Of Poll by Nobody: 3:15am On Dec 05, 2015
Re: Bayelsa: JTF Recovers Explosives, Ammunition Ahead Of Poll by Herald47: 3:18am On Dec 05, 2015
What shall it profit you to shed innocent blood because of power.
Re: Bayelsa: JTF Recovers Explosives, Ammunition Ahead Of Poll by donsteady(m): 3:30am On Dec 05, 2015
No pisure, are you a learner ?
Re: Bayelsa: JTF Recovers Explosives, Ammunition Ahead Of Poll by oismail(m): 3:41am On Dec 05, 2015
Jonathan Task Force? (JTF)

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