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Lokpobiri describes Bayelsa’s election panel a diversionary smokescreen

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[FILE PHOTO] Heineken Lokpobiri

Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, has said that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Seriake Dickson to investigate alleged electoral violence is a smokescreen to divert attention from his maladministration.

Dickson had set up the panel to look into the violence that characterised the 2019 general elections in the state.

The panel had earlier extended invitation to the minister, the former state governor, Timipre Sylva and other All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains appear before it.

But the minister, in a statement by his media aide, George Orji, said the invitation was laughable.

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He stated that the concern of the impoverished people of Bayelsa State is how to interrogate the looting and misappropriation of the resources of the state by the governor and not the diversionary issue of the commission of inquiry.

Lokpobiri, who spoke while reacting to the invitation extended to him and some other chieftains of the APC to appear before the Justice Inikade Eradiri-led commission, urged Dickson to forget about the so-called commission of inquiry and face the task of explaining to Bayelsans how he expended the huge financial accruals to the state, which has now risen to a whooping N1.4 trillion.

He said: “As we speak, the money that has accrued to the state has increased to N1.4 trillion and there is nothing to show for it. Let Dickson give proper account of this. Let Dickson forget about the so-called commission of inquiry and give proper account of how this money has been spent.

“This is also a wake-up call by Bayelsans that this is an attempt by Dickson to divert attention from the real issues of corruption and deliberate impoverishment of our people.

“Bayelsans should begin to interrogate Dickson concerning the volume of money that has come to the state, including the bailout funds, the loans, as well as the domestic and foreign loans.”

“The people should try to match it with the projects and what is on the ground. That is what Bayelsans want to know,” he said.

Lokpobiri, who challenged Dickson to a public debate to explain his stewardship in office, dismissing the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the governor as unnecessary and uncalled for.

He said that there was no single political violence involving the APC during the last elections in the state except the killing of an APC member at Tungboabiri, Sagbama, which was perpetrated by thugs before the elections and the alleged recovery of arms, including AK47 from Dickson’s appointed Vice Chairman of Ekeremor Local Council, Pius Waregha, at Egbemo-Anagabiri.

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