YENAGOA- Bayelsa Women Arise Organization has called on President Bola Tinubu and security agencies to ensure a peaceful governorship election in Bayelsa state on Nov. 11.
During a peaceful walk in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Tuesday, hundreds of women and youth, led by prominent community and Civil Society leaders, called for justice for the victims of previous election-related violence in Bayelsa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the walk, participants held banners and placards with inscriptions such as “Peaceful Elections for Bayelsa,” “Justice for the Victims,” and “Stop Election Violence.”
They chanted slogans calling for an end to the electoral turmoil that has plagued Bayelsa in the past.
Head of Department, Theater and Film Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Faith Aminikpo, who led the women, delivered their message to the police authorities in Yenagoa.
The organization expressed the collective voice of the women, saying “they are tired of witnessing violence during elections.”
She said: “We, the women of Bayelsa, are taking a stand for peace. We demand that the upcoming governorship election on November 11 be conducted without violence.
“We have seen the suffering and pain caused by election-related violence, and we refuse to accept this as the norm.
“We cannot quickly forget the victims of the previous election violence that has been witnessed in our state, particularly in the 2015 and 2019 Governorship elections.
“Today, we are yet to get justice, for vitcims of the mindless killings by desperate politicians and their thugs, including those of Simon Otor in Ekeremor local government, Mr Abule of Southern Ijaw Loal government, Philip Ochikya, Menoze Peter in Yenagoa, ThankGod Michael, Isaac Gift among many other victims,” she said.
The group acknowledged the efforts of the Bayelsa incumbent administration, in fostering peace among the citizens, which in turn, has greatly impacted on the peaceful atmosphere, currently being witnessed ahead of the election.
She stressed the need, for the security agencies and stakeholders, to consolidate on State government’s effort, ahead of the forthcoming election.
She said: “We also call upon President Bola Tinubu to use his influence and authority to ensure that this election is conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner.
“We believe that it is in the best interest of our beloved state and its citizens that we have a peaceful democratic process.”
The organization also used the opportunity to call for justice for the victims of past election violence in Bayelsa, emphasizing the importance of accountability and a fair legal process to address these issues.
They stressed that without justice, there can be no lasting peace.
The peace walk received widespread attention and support from various sections of the society, including civil society organizations, local leaders, Students, Youth and members of the international community.
It served as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for peace, stability, and justice in the lead-up to the upcoming governorship election.
Bayelsa Women Arise vows to continue advocating for peace and justice in Bayelsa State, and they will encourage all stakeholders to join them in their quest for a peaceful electoral process and the restoration of justice for past victims of election violence in the state.
Receiving the letter from the the women, the Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, CP Tolani Alausa, expressed support for peaceful election in the state come Nov. 11.
He said the police had initially planned to deploy 27,000 personnel during the polls, but now the number has increased to almost 40,000, including those from other sister security agencies, to ensure people go out and vote peacefully.
He said: “Police as a leading agency in the security architecture, have taken cognizance of your theme, ‘Never Again’, because it’s apt for this purpose.
“All the political class need is to play by the rules of the game, never again shall we have people murdered because of election, in the last election, not only civilian were killed but some police officers were also killed.
“We are going to do everything within our constitutional rights to ensure that we defend the right of every Bayelsan to go out there and cast his/her vote without harassment and molestation.
“Good enough we are in an off-cycle election, where we are going to have enough of security operatives in the state,” he said. (NAN)