Voters in Nembe-Bassambiri on Sunday morning besieged the secretariat of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa over allegations of manipulation of results from several wards in the area.
Security forces immediately cordoned off the road leading to the INEC secretariat although the spokesperson for the people, Dambo Biriyai, said they were there to peacefully register their protest at their disenfranchisement.
Biriyai who is also the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice said the aggrieved protesters numbering hundreds were prevented from entering Nembe-Bassambiri by a SWAT team.
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He said some armed young men came out in the presence of the SWAT team to forcefully stop them from entering the town to exercise their franchise.
Biriyai who hails from the area therefore callled on INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Obo Effanga, and INEC South-South Commissioner, May Agbamuche-Mbu, to do what is right by rejecting the alleged fake results.
His words: “If what we are here for is allowed to go on, it would be a massive rape on democracy. We are here because we were disenfranchised in Nembe-Bassambiri. And no voting took place there.
“Precisely on the 10th of Nov, in order to vote for our candidate, about 60 buses left Yenagoa to Nembe-Bassambiri with escort. When we got there, the SWAT team was blocking the entrance with other APC youths.
“They said we should come down. When one of our boys, Barr. Dilli, came down, they manhandled him and he escaped by the whiskers. Thereafter, they started blocking them up to the extent that they threw tear gas at us. They said we cannot come in. So most of us were scared so they had to leave. There were no votes.
“We did not go in. There was no voting in Ward 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. So, what we are saying is that INEC, we believe in you so much.
“That is why we are here peacefully to appeal to you to do the right thing that those votes in that area should be cancelled.”
INEC HOD Voter Education and Publicity, Bayelsa State, Wifred Ifogah, pleaded for calm and urged the protesters to lodge their protest with the leadership of the commission in writing.