Bayelsa State Government on Monday insisted that the perpetrators of last month’s dastardly attack on Opu-Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area of the state, which left no fewer than four people dead, must be made to face the full weight of the law.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known during a meeting with members of the Opu-Nembe Council of Chiefs, and Security Service Commanders in Government House, Yenagoa.
He said government was ready to work closely with the security agencies in the state to ensure that those behind the 15th February attack were identified, apprehended and prosecuted, no matter how highly placed they are in society.
The Deputy Governor, who allayed the fears of the Opu-Nembe people over fresh outbreak of violence, assured the Council of Chiefs that security personnel deployed in their Community would remain until normalcy is fully restored.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, however, stressed the need for the Opu-Nembe Chiefs Council to cooperate with the Nigeria Police and other security agencies by providing all necessary information to enable them arrest and prosecute all those involved in the unfortunate incident.
On the issue of alleged banishment of some indigenes of Opu-Nembe based on political sentiments, he pointed out the grave consequences that would befall any Community found culpable in perpetrating such, describing it as ‘crude, uncivilized and unlawful acts.’
Reiterating the present administration’s zero-tolerance for crime and criminality, the Deputy Governor warned that nobody should be prevented from entering the community to exercise their political rights in the forthcoming elections.
He said: “This meeting is a response to the ugly incident in Opu-Nembe a couple of weeks ago. There are still a lot of speculations and allegations that we have to address.
“We heard some persons have been barred from entering the community, and prevented from voting in the last election. Society has grown beyond that level of banishing people who have different political views or leanings.
“As a government, we don’t condone crime and criminality. Whoever that is involved in this dastardly act of killing people for whatever reasons must face the full weight of the law.
“To this end, we are ready to work with all stakeholders to ensure lasting peace in Opu-Nembe. Government will keep the security agents stationed there, even as we will give you all the support to ensure peace.”
In his remarks, the Spokesman of the Opu-Nembe Chiefs’ Council, Chief Robert Efere, thanked the state government for responding swiftly to the February 15 incident that led to the loss of lives and property.
Chief Efere, however, appealed to goverment and security agencies to do more, lamenting that unconfirmed rumours of further attacks had forced many residents to desert the community.
He said the community had not banished any individual as being rumoured, pointing out that the outcome of the recent Presidential and National Assembly Elections proved that the Community provided a level playing field for all political parties and their candidates.
In his contribution, the President of the Opu-Nembe youth body, represented by his vice, Mr Degi Nimibofa, described the attack as a premeditated and well coordinated effort by some indigenes to seize the political and economic power structure of the community.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Okolo, commiserated with the Community, particularly families that lost their members to the attack and called on the Community to release the corpses of those killed to the police.