The Bayelsa State Government has condemned the alleged cases of human rights violations in Nembe-Basambiri, Nembe Local Government Area, following the deployment of a crack team from the police force headquarters in Abuja.
Governor Douye Diri made the condemnation at Basambiri shortly after an unscheduled visit to assess the security situation in the community on Monday.
His visit came on the heels of the outbreak of fresh attacks by suspected gunmen in the sister communities of Basambiri and Ogbolomabiri respectively on Saturday and in the early hours of Monday.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, claimed that the modus operandi supposedly adopted by the crack team to mop up arms in the area was faulty.
He noted that true professional operation requires them to go after the real criminals rather than harass and arbitrarily arrest peaceful and law-abiding citizens of the Nembe Kingdom.
A statement issued on Monday night by the deputy governor’s media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, said the governor, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to immediately pull out his men from Nembe Basambiri to de-escalate the growing tensions in the area.
He ordered the immediate evacuation of one of the alleged victims of the recent shootings, Mrs Ifiemi Eminah, noting that she should be taken from the Ogbolomabiri General Hospital to Yenagoa for improved medical attention.
He urged the police and the military personnel on the ground in Nembe to exhibit a high level of professionalism in carrying out their mandate.
He said, “On the impression we have, clearly most of our fears have been justified. That the deployment of the police from Abuja into Opu-Nembe is not actually for the purpose of mopping up arms.
“What we’ve seen is that there is a very high level of human rights abuse here. As you can see, I’m at the General Hospital here in Nembe to visit a woman who was shot by somebody in a police uniform. And I’m evacuating her to Yenagoa.
“We also have the report that a distress call was sent from a police station when even the DPO had not raised an alarm. I don’t know how somebody in Abuja will know that there is a security threat (to a) police station and sent people to come and start shooting aimlessly.
“So our appeal to the Inspector General is that he should please pull out his men from Opu-Nembe. We have a case of three youths that were killed since the 15th of February this year.”
He added, “Some people were alleged to be involved in that crime and their names have been made available to the police but nothing serious is seen to have been done to arrest and prosecute them up till now.
“We also appeal for the community particularly our youths to be calm no matter the level of provocation. The Government of Bayelsa is a responsible government and we are following up. That is why the Governor has asked us to come.
“We are not going to allow anyone to be intimidated. We will ensure that their rights are protected. Our youths should not respond in any form because the government is on top of the situation. And we believe justice will be done.”
The governor was accompanied on the visit by service commanders including the state Commissioner of Police, CP Alausa, some members of the Bayelsa State Executive Council, and other top functionaries of government.