Published On: Mon, Sep 23rd, 2013

Policemen Flee as Armed Youths Invade Monarch’s Palace in Bayelsa over Kingship Tussle

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Inpector General of Police Mr Mohammed Abubakar

LAGOS SEPTEMBER 23RD (URHOBOTODAY)Agrisaba community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State was rocked by violence over the weekend, as armed youths opposed to the Regent, Chief Sampson Awudul, invaded the palace and beat up traditional chiefs of the community.
Checks revealed that the violence was instigated by some unnamed politicians, who allegedly sponsored youths to attack the chiefs over claims that some loyalists of former Governor Timipre Sylva, wanted to convene a meeting of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the community, using the election of the king as a smokescreen.

After the violence, the former special adviser to Sylva on legal matters, Chief Dennis Otiotio, was arrested and detained by the police.
Sources stated that the attack was carried out by youths dressed in military and police uniforms allegedly in the presence of the men of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) code-named Operation Pulo Shield and the Nembe Divisional Base of the Police.
Investigations revealed that Otiotio had requested for police protection during the meeting and the state police command approved 15 policemen that joined another four policemen he had requested for as personal escort.
According to eyewitness account, the policemen who had taken strategic positions around the palace, took to their heels as soon as violence broke out.
Awudul, who is also the chairman of the Chiefs Council of the Agrisaba community, alleged that the attack was sponsored by some top politicians in the state to harass and intimidate the chiefs and the youths’ leadership, in their quest to foist a new leadership on the community.
A statement issued yesterday and jointly signed by the Regent, Secretary of the Council of Chiefs, Chief Williams Joel Onyi; Acting Head of the Akari Group of Houses, Chief Promise Ginah Igbelegbe and the Acting Head of the Eleli Group of Houses, Chief Edoghotu Edogho, stated that though the community is peace-loving, its peace had been shattered by people who deployed state apparatus.
The statement read in part: “The deployment of the state apparatus was to circumvent the laid down procedure for the choice and election of a king in the community by desecrating the traditional procedure for the emergence of a king, with the deployment of the state apparatus. This was allegedly done using the Nigeria Army with gunboat and Mobile Policemen to invade the community in a commando style.

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