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Violent Unrest Looms In Bayelsa


There is turmoil unraveling in Bayelsa State. The State appears on the fringes of violence and unrest. This is according to a new development. The elders of Nembe land in Bayelsa State have issued a warning to the Governor of the State to resign or face a violent unrest. The declaration came in the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 30, 2009 through the Niger Delta Youth Vanguards who had previously issued a statement for the resignation of the Governor following the newsbreak that he was addicted to cocaine and may have suffered mental incapacitation. Sources in Bayelsa point to the threat as credible and requiring of precautionary actions.

Historians familiar with the area and people of Nembe caution that Nembe who are Ijaw in origin can be very violent if their rights are violated, while an informed source in Bayelsa discounts the threat as mere political exchange. He adds “it is a mere threat. A sitting governor cannot be removed through violence. It is all part of the political calculations in the build up to the 2011 general election, more so that there is no love lost between the Bayelsa Governor and Goodluck Jonathan.”

That notwithstanding, the latest call comes on the heels of a plethora of administrative maladies currently plaguing the government of Bayelsa. This is according to sources operating in Bayelsa. Sylva's administration currently finds itself battling to cover a N2.2billion Internally Generated Revenue [IGR] fund which the Governor and his friends intended to share but could not due to dishonor among thieves. The consultant charged with the collection of IGR who goes by the name Kasma Nigeria Limited [based in Lagos] was supposed to be a part of a previously agreed arrangement with Sylva. The deal was to reserve a percentage of the collected IGR for Sylva and his friends. Out of Bayelsa's IGR which averages about N300 to N400million monthly, Kasma Nig. LTD was able to amass for Sylva a warping sum of N2.2billion. Unfortunate for Sylva, the consultant diverted the N2.2billion into another personal account. Governor Sylva and his friends were betrayed.

The Sylva administration, as a result, launched a subtle reorganization of the IGR. Their first move was the abrupt termination of Kasma Nigeria Limited. The consultant will be replaced by another consultant by the name ABC Nigeria Limited. reached out to the Chairman of IGR Board, Mr. Solomon Apreala. He neither denied nor confirmed the termination of Kasma's contract but angrily responded that “there is no story to tell. If you have evidence, please go ahead and publish, but be ready for litigation. I am waiting. I will sue whoever is trying to tarnish my clean record and reputation in the State.”

The administrative maladies within the Bayelsa State government have not spared the Bayelsa State Environmental Sanitation Authority. Of which three versions of petitions presently seats at the desks of the EFCC - dated April 14th 2008, November 9th 2008 and July 1st 2009 in relation to a loan facility of N300million obtained by Reginald Dede, Chairman Bayelsa State Environmental Sanitation Authority and the Governor.

According information gathered, a N300million loan was obtained on August 2008 from Oceanic Bank and First Inland Bank. The loan was purported to have been used to purchase some equipment for the cleanup of the State. However the said sum was paid into the personal business account of Reginald Dede – who owns the company – Ebiseni Service. The money was later shared among the Governor [Timipre Sylva], Commissioner of finance [Dr. Opuala Sylva Charles] and Commissioner of sports [Bethel Amabebe].

Interestingly, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly investigated the loan payment into Reginald Dede's business account and recommended to the Governor that Mr. Dede be suspended from office. But the same lawmakers in a simultaneous swipe approved another N3.1billion for the governor for projects including the environmental sanitation in the state.

The lawmakers' approval generated disgust among the informed in the State. This is as the abrupt redeployment of the Accountant General, Mr. Thomas Zadalamoh to the Ministry of finance as the permanent secretary. learnt that his redeployment was due to his role in the employment of ghost workers. The former Accountant General is currently being investigated by the EFCC.

In all, the Bayelsa State government has in response to inquiries, pointed to external agitators as the cause of what appears a pending unrest. Some of the more vocal elements with the Governor's kitchen cabinet point to the President's absence as the root cause. They alleged that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan wants to seize the chance to incite and/or mobilize unrest in the State. But to a renowned university lecturer from Bayelsa, “there are many sides to the story but the frosty relationship between the duo [Sylva and Jonathan] predates the President's hospitalization in Jeddah. Jonathan wants to be the ultimate power broker in Bayelsa, and to control the levers “another dimension to whole scenario is the fact that Alaibe, the former NDDC top-shot who is now a special adviser to the President, an Ijaw man is also keenly interested in becoming the governor of Bayelsa of come 2011.”

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