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Bayelsa poll violence: Ijaw leaders urge Diri to halt Sylva’s prosecution

The Ijaw Professionals have urged Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, to cease the media trial of former governor Timipre Sylva over the violence at the…

The Ijaw Professionals have urged Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, to cease the media trial of former governor Timipre Sylva over the violence at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation centre in Brass Local Government during last year’s governorship election.

Governor Diri recently accused Sylva, the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 11, 2023 governorship election, of orchestrating the violence at the INEC collation centre in Brass, which resulted in the death of PDP agent and local youth leader, George Sibo.

Diri thereafter instructed the state commissioner for justice and Attorney General to begin legal proceedings against Sylva, his opponent in the election.

The Ijaw Professionals, a group of intellectual Ijaw indigenes, criticised Diri’s actions, stating that they tarnished Bayelsa’s image and embarrassed the Ijaw ethnic group.

In a statement by its secretary, Clarkson Ayebaepreye, the group alleged that Diri had neglected his role as governor and protector of Ijaw interests.

He argued that accusing Sylva of murder in the media before conducting a proper investigation is reckless and politicises a serious matter.

Ayebaepreye called for an end to using the murder allegation as a political weapon against Sylva, who is contesting Diri’s re-election in court. “It is foolhardy to accuse a man of a crime before initiating an investigation to determine his culpability.”

Reacting to the warning by Ijaw Professionals, Governor Diri’s spokesman, Daniel Alabrah, told Daily Trust that the governor has already said what he wants to do, adding that whatsoever the group is saying is their own contribution on the issue.

He said: “So the governor should allow somebody who would instigate killing to go free, well if Sylva is talking using the group, it is not an issue, we have done two statements on that.”

 

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