Ex-Governor ​Sylva, Ben Bruce shun anti-violence pact in Bayelsa

​A​ former Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva​,​ and the Chairman, Silverbird Group, Ben Murray-Bruce, on Tuesday ignored the Bayelsa Peace Accord for political office contenders in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Mr. Sylva is the ​Senatorial ​candidate for the All Progressives Congress for Bayelsa East while the entertainment ​magnate​, Mr. Murray-Bruce, is candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the same district.

The Bayelsa East and West Senatorial Districts predominantly coastal settlements are violence-prone as a result of the ​reported ​arms buildup by several militant groups and ex-militants who are expected to be hired by politicians.

Also, the Bayelsa Central senatorial candidate for P​DP, Emmanuel Paulker, and his counterpart for Bayelsa West, Foster Ogola, were not at the peace meeting organised by the Bayelsa State Police Command.

Many other contenders including Speaker, Bayelsa House of Assembly, Kombowei Benson, attended the peace accord presided over by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 5, Musa Daura.

Mr. Daura said the peace accord became imperative as part of the measures to have rancour-free general elections.

The AIG, who stressed the importance of peace in the conduct of elections, said the police were poised to ensure the coming polls were free, credible and hitch-free.

He admonished the candidates to shun acts capable of undermining the general elections, before, during and after the polls.

He also solicited the cooperation of stakeholders, saying there was no way only the police could succeed in the task of providing security without assistance from Nigerians.

He said, “I wish to remind you that our major concern is to stress the importance of peace before, during and after the general elections.

“Peace and stability are the major concerns for the elections. The same peace accord was signed by presidential candidates for various political parties in Abuja. The peace accord was directed by the Inspector General of Police to ensure the coming general elections are free, fair and credible.

“I wish to remind all the candidates to adhere to all existing laws and regulations pertaining to the polls especially guidelines by the Independent National Electoral Commission, electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution as amended.” He said

Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa, Mr. Valentine Ntomchukwu, read the provisions of the Peace Accord before calling on individual candidate present at the meeting to sign the document.

He urged all parties to the accord to ensure that they adhere strictly to its provisions in the interest of peace.

Speaking on the accord, APC House of Representatives candidate for Ekeremor/Sagbama Constituency, Mrs. Rosemary Okieghazi, said the peace accord was a step in the right direction.

“The police are the defenders of the people. We expect them to uphold the law. They must do this by protecting all candidates equally. I have faith in the police,” she said.

In his comment, a candidate for PDP and current member of Bayelsa Assembly, Tonye Isenah, said he noticed that the pact did not cover unregulated social media campaign.

He said the accord was silent on social media platform, where he claimed many candidates were being attacked.

He expressed confidence in the police but added that the military should also be drafted to assist the police.

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