It is not certain if elections will hold this Saturday in Abonnema, the crisis-ridden headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. The place is still tension soaked, following the killing of soldiers by suspected political thugs.
It was learnt on Monday that some of those suspected to have been behind the killings have been arrested by soldiers. The latest set of those arrested were picked up on Sunday night, according to the natives.
For fear of arrest, as soldiers continue in the search for more suspects, scores of the residents have fled the area. Video recordings showing the fleeing natives are already going viral.
Officials of INEC have however not spoken on the possibility of elections holding there this Saturday. But it was learnt that there have been meetings by stakeholders on the matter.
Because of crisis in Abonnema, there was no election in the area during the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Also in Nembe, in the Nembe Local Government Area, tension has heightened. On Sunday, a truck load of mobile policemen were deployed there, apparently on the request of the state government.
But the policemen were said to have been chased out of the place. One political leader from the area said on Monday that it was wrong for the governor, Seriake Dickson to have asked that the policemen be drafted there when there were other policemen and soldiers already in the area.
He said there were issues in the governor's Toru-Orua, but that he never deployed mobile policemen there. The politician said Nembe was not a war zone and did not deserve to be flooded with soldiers and mobile policemen.
The PDP in Bayelsa had accused the opposition APC of sacking the mobile policemen and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area.
State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Moses Cleopas, said in a late night statement on Sunday that the thugs aided by soldiers had dug trenches and mounted barricades in Nembe Bassambiri to harass innocent people.
Cleopas said that it was rather frightening that the thugs working for a Bassambiri-born APC Chieftain, Sylva, could be allowed to sack members of the community who are not supporters of the All Progressives Congress.
But Senator-elect for Bayelsa East, Chief Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo said in a telephone interview on Monday that he was appreciative of the role of security agencies deployed in Nembe to keep the peace and urged them to remain focused in the task of securing the people ahead of the state assembly election holding this Saturday.
He said: “We commend the military for rising to the occasion to carry out their role in line with the law. On the part of the police, we know that the new IG is up to the task and we know that they will get it right. The recent deployment of mobile policemen to the area is not called for because there is already tension in the area.
“Tension because the people feel worried that they have not arrested those who killed the young man in Nembe. Preparations are going on for the state house of assembly elections and we are very confident that this time around, INEC will get it right.”