Arming of militants: Dickson battles with Sylva, Lokpobiri
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, on Thursday, clashed with former governor Timipre Sylva and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, over the activities of the arrested militant leader, Oyaweikumor Peregbabofa.
The 28-year-old militant, known in the creeks as General Karaowei, reportedly led militant gangs that allegedly killed five security operatives at Toru-Ndoro community of Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
The militant was arrested on Wednesday night at a community in Delta State.
But Dickson in his first New Year Transparency Briefing held at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Yenagoa, on Thursday accused Lokpobiri and Sylva of sponsoring the suspect and his gang.
However, Sylva and Lokpobiri, have denied the allegations, saying it was irresponsible of the governor to link them with criminal activities in the state.
Dickson said, “The Minister of State, Senator Lokpobiri, is the one that armed and equipped Kareowei that has now killed soldiers and killed military people and subjected innocent communities to pains.
“All the guns, AK47, all the boats and others he uses to kill and all other ammunition were supplied by Senator Lokpobri. I have evidence that on the 2nd of January, this year, this Kareowei and his killers were in Ekeremor, celebrating with Lokpobiri, and that is the person appointed as the minister of state.
“And Timipre Sylva, the President should caution these two. Political leaders work for stability, you play your politics when election comes, you don’t need to arm those boys with weapons and you use the President’s name and the name of your party to intimidate law enforcement agencies.”
But Lokpobiri fired back at the governor, saying he had nothing to do with the arrested militant leader and challenged Dickson to prove his claims.
He said, “I don’t know this militant leader. I have never met him before and it is irresponsible for anybody to accuse someone like me, who has been preaching peace of buying arms for a criminal. It is unimaginable!
“When I went home during the Yuletide, this same suspect even came to my town and started shooting guns from the river. Whatever the governor had said came from his imagination.
“This is part of his campaign of calumny, which he had sustained and sponsored over time against me. He should be bold enough to provide proof to his claims. I will still study everything he said and respond accordingly.”
On his part, Sylva’s Media Adviser, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, said the governor was “sick”, adding that he had returned to his notorious game of accusing Sylva of sponsoring criminality in Bayelsa.
“As always, Dickson has provided zero facts to support his irresponsibly frivolous claims that Sylva and Lokpobiri are providing cover for alleged cultists and other criminals. Dickson lied at his Thursday’s “Transparency” briefing in Yenagoa. “
Buokoribo added, “No amount of falsehood against Sylva will pay workers’ salaries in Bayelsa State. No amount of falsehood against Sylva will cover Dickson’s incompetence and cluelessness.”Punch