The House of Representatives’ Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said no political party should be mentioned in the report of a joint committee set up to probe circumstances leading to the loss of lives during the just concluded governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.
The Tuesday resolution therefore mandated joint committee on Police Affairs, Army, Justice, Electoral Matters and Human Rights to handle the matter and report back to the House for further actions.
The resolutions followed the consideration and adoption of a motion on matters of urgent public importance, moved by Reps: Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), and Solomon Bob calling on the House to wade into the matter.
In the motion presented by Toby Okechukwu, the lawmakers noted that the November 16, 2019 elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States witnessed widespread violence which recorded about a dozen deaths.
“The alleged claims by top officers of the Nigeria Police Force that the Police had prior intelligence that the elections would be violent and that fake officers were responsible for the said violence.”
“We are aware of reports released by Civil Society Organisations that security officials were complicit in the violence and disruption that characterized the Kogi and Bayelsa elections. We are also aware that Governor Seriake Dickson reported that soldiers were deployed to Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.”
“We are also aware that Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) and Situation Room called for cancellation of the elections following the role of security agents who though saddled with the constitutional responsibilities of maintaining the rule of law and the defence of citizens’ rights, were alleged to be colluding with thugs to steal ballot boxes or actively participating in disrupting polling units”, the principal lawmaker stated.
He recalled further that “66,241 police personnel were deployed for the elections comprising 35,200 to Kogi and 31,041 to Bayelsa States respectively, as confirmed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, AbdulMajid Ali in charge of Operations on November 14, 2019”.
“In spite of such massive deployment of security personnel coupled with the intelligence reports, the elections witnessed such degree of violence resulting in the death of one Mrs. Salome Abuh. The Police Service Commission (PSC) also blamed insufficient manpower as reason for the widespread chaos during the elections.
“We are mindful of the constitutional mandate of Parliament and the need to forestall a recurrence. We urge the House to constitute a joint committee on Police Affairs, Army, Justice, Electoral Matters and Human Rights to:
Investigate the pre and post election security breaches in Kogi and Bayelsa including the alleged presence of fake police officers and unmitigated violence during the election and make recommendations for further legislative action”, the lawmakers prayed.
However, the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, in ruling on the motion advised that care should be taken not to mention names of political parties as brains behind the violence.