The lawmaker representing Bayelsa East senatorial district, Ben Murray-Bruce, has vowed to drag perpetrators of violence during the Bayelsa State governorship election that led to the death of at least four people, to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, stressing that citizens have a right to vote for any candidate of their choice in any election without coercion or intimidation.
The senator elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, made this known in a statement following the violence, abduction and killings that characterised the election in Bayelsa, especially in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, which led to the declaration of the poll as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He said: “I wish to state categorically that any further killing in Bayelsa State as a result of the ongoing election wherein the law enforcement agents are watching, or the leaders of the political parties seem to have instigated such killing, I will personally ensure that they are charged for murder. If government fails to prosecute them, I will drag them before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatization, berated security operatives for failing to protect the electorate from attacks by political thugs and criminals.
“I have observed with dismay, the killings in Bayelsa State in the ongoing governorship election. The military and the Police have been seen to watch with indifference while thugs and criminals killed law abiding citizens who were out to perform their franchise. So far, about four people have been reported killed, many injured including Youth Corps members serving as adhoc staff to the INEC.
“Citizens have a right to vote for any candidate of their choice in any election without coercion or intimidation. And it is the responsibility of the government to protect these citizens as enshrined in our Constitution. But it is sad to note that these defenseless citizens were killed without being protected by the law enforcement agents even when they were watching,” he added.
He called on the people of the state to be vigilant and law abiding as they await a new date for the election.
“I therefore advice the good people of Bayelsa to be vigilant. Where there is any killing they must ensure that they can identify those responsible either by omission or commission. I also advise them to be law abiding.
“When a new date is set by INEC for elections to hold in Ijaw South, those affected should quietly go to their designated polling booths and cast their votes. No body should allow himself to be used to perpetrate violence in Bayelsa State. Enough is enough,” he added.