No fewer than 22 people were killed during the November 16 violent gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.
Making the allegation at an interactive session with reporters in Abuja, the state governor, Seriake Dickson, on Monday said the figure includes 10 people that were beheaded and their bodies mutilated before they were thrown into the sea.
“I just set up a panel of inquiry on the killings during the poll. What took place in Nembe in particular was a massacre. What we saw was a tragedy of monumental proportion,” the governor said.
“So far, 12 deaths were recorded. Their offence was being PDP members and for attending PDP rally. We have not heard the last of the brutality they visited on law-abiding citizens in Nembe.
“They also beheaded, mutilated and actually butchered some citizens of the state. From eye-witness accounts, the people they slaughtered and butchered were close to 10.”
The governor also said going by two judgements of the Federal High Court, the APC had no candidate in the state for the poll.
He said the PDP would pursue its pre-election cases to logical conclusion.
Dickson pointed out that the state had remained peaceful after the poll because he led the campaign against violence
He said there was no election in Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Yenagoa.
“What happened in Bayelsa State was not an election but a democratic coup. The results were pre-meditated as collation officers were carefully selected. It was the first time the collation officers, who were trained in Benin, were coming to Bayelsa State,” he said.
“These collation officers were guided by the military and protected by the police to rig the poll. In Nembe, militia men took control, thumb-printed ballot papers and returned 80,000 votes for APC.
“In Ogbia, they came up with 50,000 votes which had never been the case in the electoral history of the state. In Yenagoa, the area with the largest votes, they arrested, harassed and shot down PDP supporters. As we are talking, a number of PDP supporters are still in custody.
“Some electoral officers were so angry that they have sworn to affidavits to expose what the military and the police did. They confessed that they sat down and wrote the figures.
“Elections after elections, we will continue to talk about the neutrality or otherwise of the military. The soldiers and the police turned everybody off.
“You need to understand our peculiar terrain. For you to have acceptable election, the security people must behave in an acceptable and professional way. We thought the military and the police will be neutral but they were not.”
Dickson said the battle will shift to the court and election petitions tribunal.
“As of the date of the election on November 16, there were and there will continue to be two judgements of the Federal High Court. As of that date, the APC did not have a valid candidate.
“As lovers of peace and firm believers in democratic process, we have no option than to use the existing legal process/ structure for redress. We will continue the battle at the Federal High Court and the Election Petitions Tribunal.”