Unease In Yenagoa Over Gun Attacks


In the past few weeks, something akin to the thug of War has been taking place in different parts of the Bayelsa State. There has been cult related fighting. Anxiety and tension has been at its peak at the state capital, Yenagoa while the stories coming from the coastal communities of the state are not different.

The incidence of atrocities and other abnormalities has become the other of the day as violence and illegalities have seemed the norm since the last two weeks in the state.

Last Weekend, unknown gunmen attacked the maternal home of the Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva in Okpoma Community of Brass Local Government councils, while the governor’s uncle, an 83 years-old retired major was Manhandled. The attack on the governor’s maternal home, Okpoma Community, is coming few days after the men of the Joint Military Task Force code named Operation Restore Hope were deployed into the streets of the state capital following rising cases of attacks on homes of political office holders and alleged cult killings of over seven persons in the state.

The home of the impeached Deputy Governor, Peremobowei Ebebi at Aleibiri community of Ekeremor Local Government, the home of the State chairman of the Sanitation Authority, Chief Reginal Dede in Akassa Local Council and the Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, Mike were also attacked in the last few days.

The attack on the Okpoma home of the governor was reportedly launched at about 4.30am on Saturday by unidentified men in two speed boats. The armed youths, numbering about eighteen invaded the community and vandalised homes.

Some indigenes of the community, including the state governor, who visited the community to assess the extent of damage, claimed that though no life was lost in the incident, the State Commissioner for Information, Strategy and Orientation, Hon. Nathan Egba told newsmen after the tour of the governor to his maternal home in Okpoma to assess the damage, said the series of attacks and violent actions in the state maybe a coordinated effort by some persons to disrupt the existing peace in the state and embarrass the state governor. Egba,s aid “it is obvious that may be part of a coordinated attack to make the Bayelsa environment unsafe. The state has enjoyed peace because the state governor has invested much in sustenance of the peace and development of the state. The governor’s record at achieving and maintaining peace in the state may have threatened some individuals.”

Similarly, at the early hours of Monday, the country home of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Nestor Binabor was attacked, even as a dynamite attack at his house did not have the desired effect on his building due to the resistance put up by the youths of the community which equally led to the killing of Mr. Esanpou Nainar in the clash at the waterside, investigations by newsmen revealed that the attackers of the home of the Speaker, situated close to the waterside of the Okunbiri Community, arrived the town at about 12.30 am in two speed boats and immediately moved to the old building owned by the Speaker to plant dynamites.

But some youths of Okunbiri, according to indigenes of the community, had mobilised and moved in two directions to stop the attack and apprehend those involved. But the invaders, according to the youths, sighted the movement and rained volley of gun shots at the youth group in the counter force boat.

The Speaker, who was deputy Speaker during the impeachment of the former deputy governor Peremobowei, however in his recuperating mood said though the threats received by the members of the house of Assembly during the impeachment exercise were reported to the State Commissioner of Police and other relevant agencies in the state, saying we received lots of text messages on plans to terminate, damage and injure many of us, even as he added that the continued violence in the state is as a result of the recent impeachment of the former deputy governor Peremobowei Ebebi.

Just as the story of insecurity was dying down, the attack on King Johnny Tumer, a close confident of Mr. President, broke out. The report was that the attackers invaded private home at Opueme in Ogbia local government area while vital documents were removed and police guiding the house were dispossessed of the weapons.

But what would have caused such large scale of violence within a short space of time in the state. Some pundits have averred that because of crunch facing the state “free money” from government unlike before are no longer vailable. This, many people believed is because government official tight hand and “chop alone’ hence the violence to draw attention. One school of thought also point to the velvet glove treatment being given to ex-militant leaders who live like kings in the government House to the exclusion of so many of their followers now roaming about in the streets.

However, The On Sunday Tide gathered that most government functionaries no longer keep money in the banks hence they constructed reservoir in the homes. This new method of keeping their loots far from the prying eyes of EFCC, was leaked to the boys. In fact this was the reason for the Akasa raid. The raid paid up handsomely, hence the attack at Okpoama and Oupeme.

The Tide On Sunday further learnt that more top functionaries may face attacks on their country homes as most of the boys they used are disenchanted because of the peanuts they are getting.

On the killings in the streets of Yenagoa, it was discovered that far from what Police described as cult war. It is something more than that. A source told The Tide On Sunday that before  the  impeachment of the former deputy governor, some ‘bad’ boys were contracted to do some jobs with promise that each of them will get two million and a ticket to travel outside the country for safety. The masters that contracted them reneged on the promised and the boys threatened to talk, and the ploy to silent them led to what has been seen as cult war.

However, a retired army colonel from the state who chose to be anonymous was of a different opinion, he said there could be fifth columnists in Chief Sylva’s administration that are sponsoring all the atrocities in other to discredit the administration. The earlier the governor fishes out this columnist the better for him.

The ex-army intelligence officer said he has spotted about three different groups working at cross-purpose; they all belong to Mr Governor’s group. According to him each of this group are competing for recognition, hence carry out a lot of activities that the governor may not be aware but is telling on his administration.

However, no matter who is responsible for the insecurity in the state, a lot of social, economic and political harm has been done. In the first place the much talked about investors may be difficult to convince on the safety of their investment in a state that more in the news for the wrong developments.

It is on this note that many believed that Chief Sylva should hearken to the suggestion of those who advocate for a cabinet reshufflement.

Political pundits are of the opinion that if nothing is done to address the situation in the state, state of emergency would not be a far fetched scenario.