By Onome Oghenetega
The umbrella body for Ijaw youths worldwide, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has alleged that there are plots to cause violence in the Niger Delta region during the forthcoming Governorship and State Houses of Assembly election on Saturday.
IYC, particularly, warned political actors and security agencies from turning Niger Delta states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom Rivers and others into war zone before, during and after elections.
The group which described the violence which broke out during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections where several persons including Ijaws in Abonema, Rivers State, Nembe and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State were as highly condemnable.
In a statement signed by IYC President, Mr Eric Omare on Wednesday in Warri, IYC also condemned the attack on popular Niger Delta activist and former Delta State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Joel Bisina by security agents deplored to Warri North LGA during the last election.
While expressing concerns over the growing tension in the region ahead of the election, Omare warned against action capable of turning the region to a theatre of war for the selfish gains of politicians.
It said, “Considering the foregoing incidences of violence, IYC is worried with the building tension as we approached this weekend’s Governorship and State assembly elections especially in the light of the accusations and counter accusations by the major political parties and actors across the key Niger Niger States of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States.
“We have strong concerns that there may be outbreak of violence if the major players do not apply caution it their quest for power.
“In order to nip this rising tension in the bud, we call on security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) most especially to be transparent in the conduct of the elections.
“The security agencies must see themselves as officers and servants of the Federal Republic of Nigeria rather than any of the political parties or actors. In all the instances of violence recorded in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the infamous role played by security agencies contributed greatly to the crisis.”
Omare, in the statement, however, called on the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector General of Police to strongly call their officers to strictly comply with the rules of engagement during the exercise so as not to cause renewed hostility in the region.
“Also, political players in the Niger Delta region especially Ijaw land must realize that attaining power is not a do or die affair. In the same vein youths of the Niger Delta must not allow themselves to be used as instruments of violence”, the IYC President added.