Bayelsa govt, Bilabiri indigenes differ over death of suspected militants’ leader

Bayelsa State government and the indigenes of the Bilabiri Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, on Sunday differed over the circumstances that led to the death of a suspected militants’ leader, Frank Brake-Ere Seide, also known as Sea Lion, during a bloody dispute over leadership and control of the Community Development Committee (CDC).

The members of the newly-installed CDC described the death of Brake-Ere Seide as “self-inflicted”, saying that he died during a shoot-out with some youths led by one Ebineme Abaka at the Bilabiri 1 Community Primary School jetty.

The state government, through the Office of the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, however, condemned the killing of Brake-Ere Seide, threatening to deal decisively with any individual or group found culpable of fomenting trouble in communities in their quest for leadership.

Speaking at a meeting with representatives of Bilabiri Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state on Sunday, the deputy governor expressed displeasure over the acrimonious manner people jostle for community leadership.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo noted that reports of rising insecurity in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw mainly due to community elections do not speak well of the two areas, while urging stakeholders of the councils to work closely with the state government to bring what he described as an embarrassing and worrisome situation under control.

But the indigenes of the Bilabiri community told newsmen on Monday that the bloody clash that led to the death was fuelled by series of threats and refusal by the former executive of the CDC, led by David Bazighe, to vacate office at the expiration of its tenure in December, 2020 and the refusal of the community to grant its plea for one-year extension of tenure.

Investigation revealed that the deceased started fomenting trouble in the community after one of his kinsmen who is of the same grandparent with him, St Paul Wilson, was made the acting chairman of the CDC following an unanimous vote from the compound it was zoned to in the community.

As a result, supporters of the former executive of the CDC led by Bazighe began to accuse the new executive and its supporters of supporting brigandage, alleging that the deceased and his loyalists had been terrorising the community.

Nigerian Tribune also gathered that the battle for succession was due to the issue of who handles the security surveillance job for the forthcoming SPDC SSAGS export line project which kicked off in 2017 and was under the supervision of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

Contacted by telephone, the acting chairman of the CDC, St Paul Wilson, told Nigerian Tribune that though they had met with the aide to the governor on security matters to brief him on development in Bilabiri community, “some claims made over the crux of the matter in Bilabiri were not true.

“The main issue is that the tenure of the former executive has expired and they are trying to intimidate everyone to retain power.”



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