Thugs Burn The Nation’s Vehicle In Bayelsa

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Irate political thugs reacting to a rumour that Governor of Bayelsa state, Timipre Sylva, may have been excluded by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from contesting the party’s gubernatorial primaries, blocked the East-West road at about 2.30 am today at Mbiama-Yenagoa junction.

The thugs set ablaze The Nation delivery van conveying the current edition of TheNews, The Nation and other newspapers meant for Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states.

According to an eyewitness account, the driver of the vehicle, Mr. Solomon Amajouji ran into the blockade by hoodlums in the early hours of today.

The hoodlums dragged Amajouji out of the vehicle, beat him severely, seized his mobile phones and poured petrol on him in order to set him ablaze along with the vehicle.

Eyewitness further narrated that the driver managed to escape with his body drenched with petrol, while the vehicle was set ablaze.

In a press statement made available to P.m.News, Doifie Ola, the Chief Press Secretary denied the alleged report of exclusion of Governor Sylva.

The statement reads: “We have read with horror a report that the Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, has been screened out by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2012 Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Election. The report claims the Gubernatorial Screening Appeal Committee of the PDP headed by former Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi, considered Sylva ineligible to fly the party’s flag ‘for operating foreign accounts’.

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“Whatever the quality of the sources, this report is completely false. It is low quality fiction. It is a cheap lie sponsored by those who are afraid to meet Governor Sylva in the political field of contest, and their paid and unpaid agents, working collectively or severally. But then, we are not surprised as it follows a familiar pattern of a structured campaign of serial untruths about Governor Sylva, a fact we alerted the world about last weekend.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no basis whatsoever for the PDP to exclude Governor Sylva from the 2012 Bayelsa governorship race. He is the man to beat. Ownership and operation of a foreign account by a serving public officer is a criminal offence. No competent court of law has indicted Governor Sylva for operating a foreign account. He has no such charge pending anywhere in the world. God forbid!

“The PDP Gubernatorial Screening Committee for Bayelsa last Friday issued Governor Sylva a clearance certificate to participate in the party primaries slated for 19 November. That clearance certificate remains valid.

“It is true that the governor was at the National Headquarters of the PDP Sunday afternoon at the instance of the Gubernatorial Screening Appeal Committee. But as Sylva himself confidently told reporters after meeting with the committee, ‘the deliberations were fruitful’.

“In the face of continuous lies against Governor Sylva, we appeal to our numerous supporters to continue to remain clam, peaceful and law-abiding. Governor Sylva remains confident that the will of the Bayelsa people, guided by God, shall prevail.”

Colonel Timothy Antiga, the spokesman for the Joint Taskforce confirmed the attack on The Nation vehicle and the driver, saying that “JTF was alerted at about 2.30 am that some hoodlums masquerading as ex-militants were going to breach the peace allegedly protesting their exclusion from the amnesty programme.There is no room for any amnesty again. No more amnesty for any ex-militant.We have restored order now.”

—Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt

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