Uneasy Calm At Bayelsa Assembly Over Speaker’s Seat
Dickson Accuses Media Of Collaboration With Kidnappers
UNEASY calm now prevails at the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, as controversy continues to trail the house over who should occupy the seat vacated by former Speaker, Hon. Kombowei Benson., whose sack was affirmed by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.
The controversy was sparked off last week, following the outcome of the meeting between the State Assembly members under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson over the possible replacement for the ousted Speaker.
It was gathered that though some members were identified as leading contenders to replace the sacked Speaker, the decision of the Governor, to thwart the move did not go down well with some of them.
The implication of the decision by the governor it was gathered means that the sacked Speaker will be allowed to sign the allocation for the State House of Assembly even while preparing for a re-run election.
Some members of the state Assembly have described such arrangement as “odd” and confirmed that in the absence of a substantive speaker, a new Speaker should be elected to assume the responsibility of signing the necessary financial documents of the House.
They argue that if the 2016 Appropriation Bill is passed into law under the existing arrangement, the document may become null and void if challenged in a competent Court of law.
Meanwhile, Dickson, has accused the media of allegedly advancing the interest of kidnappers in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, in a statement yesterday, alleged that kidnappers were collaborating with the media to secure ransom from their victim’s families.
The governor’s 26-year-old younger sister, Nancy Dickson, a student of Niger Delta University (NDU), Wilberforce Island, has spent over 50 days in kidnappers’ den.
However, Dickson warned Bayelsans against succumbing to the pressure and blackmail of paying ransom to kidnappers.
He said: “Whether they are living in Yenagoa or Abuja; or whether they are traditional rulers or APC or PDP, we will go after them at the right time. And I want to use this opportunity to call on media outfits not to be allowed to be used to propagate crime and criminality.
“We are witnessing a trend in Bayelsa, where people kidnap and the media will now be used to put pressure for ransom to be paid. No ransom payment in this state”, he said.
The governor said plans were underway to amend the existing state criminal code to stem the tide of crime.
Speaking on the spate of kidnappings in the state, Dickson stressed, “Security was undermined following the electoral violence that trailed the last governorship election.”
According to him, government “has started to unveil its comprehensive strategy of returning Bayelsa to its days of peace.”
He said the recent ban on the use of 200 horsepower engine boats was one of the measures put in place by his government to check the incidence of kidnapping, sea piracy and other criminal acts on the state’s waterways.
The governor assured the people of the state of government’s commitment to rid the state of kidnappers and pipeline vandals.