Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Residents of Nembe-Basambri at the weekend protested against the visit of Governor Douye Diri to the area in Nembe Local Government Area of the state, accusing Diri of taking sides for political benefits ahead of the Nov. 11 governorship poll where Diri is seeking re-election.
The members of Nembe-Basambiri had blocked the Opu-Nembe Hall where the Diri delegation comprising heads of various security agencies was slated to address the community.
Entreaties to placate the aggrieved residents fell on deaf ears as they opposed the dusk-to-dusk curfew imposed on the people.
The community had been engulfed in a rivalry crisis, that compelled the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egebtokun, to deploy Police operatives to the community to restore normalcy.
The protesters were in groups and one group converged at the Bridge leading to the community, while others laid ambush at the town hall.
They condemned the curfew imposed on the community on Friday and dismissed the curfew as a ploy to create the impression that the area was insecure and disenfranchise the community following Diri’s unpopularity in the area ahead of the November elections.
The community had been engulfed in crisis, prompting the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egebtokun, to deploy Police operatives to the community to restore normalcy.
The protesters, who had converged at the Bridge leading to the community had placards with inscriptions such as: “Development is What we need, we don’t need curfew”, “IGP, please we are comfortable with SWAT Team, Retain them here”, “Douye Diri, Please Leave Us Alone to enjoy our peace”, and “Douye Diri Leave Opu-Nembe Alone”.
The situation got out of hand when the governor got to the town hall and met another set of aggrieved women with placards calling on him to take his hands off the crisis.
Diri who led heads of security agencies deployed to Bayelsa including the Commissioner of Police, Alausa Tolani, were left stunned as the women chanted solidarity songs and insisted that Governor Diri won’t be allowed to address them.
Diri and his team beat a retreat and headed to have an interactive session with the Police SWAT team, where Diri urged the team to do their security job in a professional manner.
A female community leader Mrs Etubo Clinton said that Diri failed to take action whilst the crisis which led to the death of three in February lasted only to show up because the election was approaching.
She expressed appreciation to the IGP for drafting his tactical team.
“We have expressed our disappointment with the Diri-led government who were partisan and showed insensitivity when we were in distress earlier.
“We are happy with the Police team deployed here and appeal to the IGP to sustain the peace by ensuring that the Police team remains in the community to ensure we do not go back to the dark period,” she stated.
Another Community leader, Chief Orusakwe Aseimiegha said the response was a clear signal that Diri has been rejected by the people.
“What just happened is a clear indication that the people of Opu-Nembe have shown that they cannot be intimidated with the force of arms that Diri came with to protect himself.
“The people have told the governor that he is part of the crisis and he is not wanted in the community. He has been rejected,” Aseimiegha said.