Bayelsa election violence: Police go after ex-militant leader, Ogunboss


Police in Bayelsa State say they are going after an ex-militant leader, Eris Paul, also known as General Ogunboss, and his lieutenants, suspected in the outbreak of violence during the supplementary election governorship election in the state on Saturday.

The state Police Commissioner, Peter Ogunyanwo, made this known in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Yenagoa.

Mr. Ogunyanwo said reports made available to the command showed that the ex-militant leader in company of heavily armed soldiers, policemen and youth, invaded Peremambiri community.

Peremambiri is a located in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and was one of the locations for the supplementary election.

According to Mr. Ogunyanwo, several persons including the King of Peremambiri Kingdom, Progress Never Die, were allegedly shot by the ex-militant.

“We received report that the Peremambiri king was allegedly attacked by an ex-militant called Ogunboss,” the police boss said.

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“I came to visit the king on the directive of the IG and to wish him heavenly recovery and by God’s grace, he shall make it.

“Currently, we learnt that the ex-militant is still at the riverine part of the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. We have our gunboats patrolling the area to ensure that we track him down.

“We learnt that he is still within the area and our officers and men are monitoring to ensure that he is arrested anytime they spot him if he tries to come back to Yenagoa or Peremambiri.”

The police commissioner said the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, had earlier directed that security operatives be withdrawn from the ex-militant.

However, he said minutes after security operatives were withdrawn, a new set of armed operatives, including soldiers and mobile policemen were said to have been found with the suspect.

“We are investigating whether those soldiers and policemen who went out with him are genuine and when any of them is confirmed to be genuine, the IG has directed that such persons should be dismissed and prosecuted and we are going to enforce that order.

“We have reached out to members of the community to give us information on the identity of the soldiers so we could deal with them if they are genuine personnel or police officers.

Asked why he spent time praying for the wounded king, Mr. Ogunbinyi said, “Even the doctors have a saying that they treat but God heals. I believe we need God to heal Baylesa State by saving the life of this man.

“I have no doubt that he will survive and through him, good things will come to Bayelsa. We cannot do anything without God.”

Speaking on the just-concluded election in the state, Mr. Ogunyanwo said apart from the reported skirmishes in some parts of the state, the election was adjudged peaceful and successful.

He, however, advised politicians on the need to know that service to the people should not be a matter of life and death.

Narrating what happened in Peremambiri, a member of the state house of assembly from the area, Daniel Egala, said shortly after the rerun poll, Ogunboss, accompanied by armed soldiers, police officers and youth, invaded the community.

Mr. Egala alleged that the ex-militant opened fire on innocent persons in the community including the king, Mr. Never Die.

He said, “Ogunboss and his men attacked the community at about 3pm. We are also told that 15 young men were also shot during the invasion.

“Shortly after the attack, we made frantic effort to get into the area and evacuate the wounded. Till now, we are unable to access those youth and we cannot ascertain what is happening to them.

“The king was rushed to the hospital by naval officers at about 5pm but I have reported to the commissioner of police to help us deploy men to Peremanbiri to evacuate the youth for treatment.

“I have made several attempts to get commercial boats to the area to bring them out but the boat operators are afraid to venture into Peremambiri. They are afraid of what the ex-militants and his men could do if they are found saving the lives of the wounded youth.”

Ogunboss was said to have arrived the community with heavily-armed soldiers, mobile policemen and youths wielding AK 47 rifles.

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