The Department of State Security Services, DSS, which serves as Nigeria’s secret police, has invited the leaders of the Save Ijaw Nation Group, SINO, for questioning over the group’s report detailing the perpetrators and victims of Bayelsa’s election violence, The Trent has learnt.
A few hours ago, the president of the Save Ijaw Nation Group, Idris Abiodun Usman, an indigene of Ondo State whose mother is Ijaw from the Niger Delta honoured the invitation of the secret police and has been interrogated for hours by the DSS.
“As I speak to you now, Usman is in the net of the DSS in Abuja [and] nobody knows what has happened to him, whether he has been detained or will be allowed to go home,” an activist closely monitoring the situation told our reporter on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.
This invitation follows the presentation of the group’s report on the election violence and human rights abuses that took place during the last Bayelsa governorship elections to Amnesty International and the Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Serieka Dickson.
The Save Ijaw Nation Group compiled a detailed report detailing the extent of human rights abuses which took place in Southern Ijaw Local government area and other parts of Bayelsa State.
While presenting the report to the Bayelsa governor earlier in August the leader of SINO delegation, Comrade Femi Lawson said it was sad to note that barely eight months after the conduct of the election, the INEC, Federal government and other relevant security agencies are yet to act on the reports presented by local and international observers.
Comrade Lawson said the report captured audio and visual recording and testimonies of the victims of the violence that marred the conduct of election in Southern Ijaw local government of Bayelsa.
According to him, the group saw a situation where harmless citizens were molested, attacked, and harassed with a lot of complicity on the part of those who ordinarily are supposed to protect them.
‘We saw burnt down houses and the fear of those of those who are unable to return to their communities just for the fear of being attacked.
‘Also, the report captured testimonies of the victims, pictures of victims including a baby that was killed, pictures of young men who were not allowed into their community particularly in Ekeremor local government area.
Stressing the need for proper investigation into the matter, Comrade Lawson said it is the only way to prevent future occurrence of such incident and as well strengthen the nation democratic rule.
He added that the names of those allegedly responsible for the heinous act are contained in the report, thereby, calling on the government and relevant agencies to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
The Save Ijaw Nation Group is a non-governmental organisation working to bring the sponsors and perpetrators of the electoral violence to answer for their crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Already, Amnesty International has launched an investigation into the group’s report.
The report indicts the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the federal government of Nigeria, and other relevant agencies for jettisoning the reports of the various Independent Monitoring Groups. It has been forwarded to the government of the United Kingdom, National Human Rights Commission and other global human rights organisations.
Governor Dickson thanked the group for taking time to empathise with government, the dead, injured and traumatized who have no voice to speak while agencies and institutions of the federal government maintained ‘siddon’ look attitude.
Dickson described what took place during the election in Southern Ijaw local government and other areas of the state as a war, pointing out that it was a well orchestrated genocide against the people of Bayelsa State.
He assured the people of the state that government would not relent in ensuring that justice is done as far as the laws of the state and the nation permits.
He added, ‘we will pursue and prosecute and bring to justice all the perpetrators that are identified to have been part of the crime.
‘I will direct the attorney general and commissioner of justice to study this report and set up a legal team to study this report therein. Secondly, the secretary to state government should send a copy to the Judicial Service Commission for advice and action.
‘This is not just an electoral violence but a criminal, heinous, and genocide against the people of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation’