Ex-militants under the aegis of Forum of Spokesmen of Ex-Niger Delta Militant Group, have vowed to resist any attempt to militarise Bayelsa State during the rescheduled supplementary election in Southern Ijaw Local government and few other polling units across the State.
The Coordinator of the group, Woyengi-momoemi Donald in a statement yesterday said: “After taking a critical look at the outcome of the last Saturday’s conduct of the governorship election in Bayelsa State, giving due assessment to the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the various security agencies, we are bound to inform Nigerians, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari that we will vehemently resist, any attempt to further Militarise Bayelsa State, under the guise of providing security during the rescheduled election in Southern Ijaw Local government and few other polling units across the State.
“Our group, Forum of Spokesmen of Ex-Niger Delta Militant Group seriously frowns at the events of last Saturday, where the Military was not only available as a willing tool in the hands of politicians, but also went the extra miles in harassing our innocent people mostly our mothers in the riverine areas of Bayelsa State.
“May we remind President Buhari and his party, that save for the maturity and free will of our son, President Goodluck Jonathan, the same Military would have been used to truncate his party’s chances of being in government at the centre, as they are today.
“We are sad, to witness, how youths and unarmed people of Bayelsa State, particularly in the Southern Ijaw Local Government, were harassed, abused and assaulted as they went to exercise their fundamental right to vote, as provided for by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Voters were hounded and embarrassed at the polling and within the communities. So sad it was to see how security was completely handed over to the Military even at the point of distribution of sensitive electoral materials. Their actions forced most people, to remain indoor throughout the processes of the election.
“We strongly belief that President Buhari, must be seen to be acting contrary to court decisions on the use of Military during elections as clearly stated in the rulings of Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court, who in his judgment, restrained the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and INEC from engaging the service of the Nigerian armed forces in the security supervision of elections in any manner whatsoever in any part of Nigeria, without the Act of the National Assembly.
“It is on record that the National Assembly has no Act empowering the military in an election and hence, it is a violation of the law. Justice Abdul Aboki, in his own lead judgment in the Ekiti State governorship election appeal also held that ‘even the President of Nigeria has no powers to call on the Nigerian armed forces and to unleash them on peaceful citizens, who are exercising their franchise to elect their leaders’”.
The statement further read: “By action of the Military on Saturday, it is considered that a crime has been committed against the people of Bayelsa state and therefore we are prepared to resist further attempt at repeating this, particularly during the re-run election for Southern Ijaw Local government.
“We have therefore resolved to put our teeming members on the notice to mobilize in readiness for the defense of the right of our people and against the invasion of Ijaw land by whosoever under the desperation of hijacking power in Bayelsa State.
“The election as conducted has given a direction on the wishes of Bayelsan and the Federal government must be ready to respect the decision of the people. Bayelsa is not a personal estate to that can be used to compensate anyone for political patronage.
“Once again, we wish to restate our readiness to resist the invasion of Bayelsa with the Military under any guise as we remained committed to the peace which currently reigns in the Niger Delta region as a result of our acceptance of the Government’s amnesty and cooperation so far”.