Bayelsa guber: Group condemns Nembe residents’ intimidation, harassment by police


Barely eight days before the Saturday, November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, a pro-democracy group, Bayelsa Progressives Forum (BPF), has expressed concern and disappointment over recent reports of intimidation and harassment of citizens in Nembe communities by some officers in the Special Operations Unit of the Nigeria Police, codenamed SWAT.
A statement by the group’s Coordinator, Comrade Abiye Akpodigha, noted that there has been increasing cases of police abuse of the residents in the last few weeks.
He said: “It is with utmost alarm that we note the increasing incidents of alleged police misconducts and abuses on the residents of Nembe communities, over the past few weeks.
“Such actions not only violate the fundamental rights of our citizens, but also pose a severe threat to the peaceful conduct of the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State.”
The Forum, therefore, called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, whose primary responsibility is to maintain law and order in the country, to immediately investigate the allegations and take necessary steps to ensure that SWAT officers operating in Nembe communities adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and respect for human rights.
The group maintained that these actions are vital to avoid any undue interference with the democratic process and to maintain public trust in law enforcement agencies.
The group said it is unacceptable for registered voters in certain communities of the state to be driven out of their ancestral communities during elections, because politicians are desperate to be elected into offices.
“We recognize the importance of a robust and effective police force, and we acknowledge the challenging tasks they undertake to ensure security and public order.
“However, this should never be an excuse for the violation of the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must strike a balance between maintaining security and respecting the democratic rights of our people.
“As we approach the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State, we implore the Inspector General of Police to intervene and call the SWAT unit to order.
“As much as the Bayelsa Progressives Forum remains dedicated to upholding the principles of democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law, we shall not hesitate to mobilise our people, in the next few days, using every legitimate means to resist any attempt at disenfranchising our people in the coming governorship elections in our state.”
The group expressed its readiness to actively engage the political parties and every stakeholders, in ensuring that the will of the people prevails in the coming gubernatorial elections.


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