Bayelsa State Government under the watch of Governor Douye Diri has suspended the recognition of any chief or leader in Peremabiri community of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area pending the conclusion of a probe into the violence that has been rocking the community.
In recent weeks, the community has been a hot battleground for gunmen. On Christmas Day, unknown armed men allegedly attacked the residence of a former militant leader, Eris Paul, alias Ogunboss, in the community.
Eye-witnesses say gunmen in some 10 speedboats stormed the coastal community in the early hours of Christmas Day, shooting indiscriminately before setting Ogunboss’ house on fire and destroying many valuables.
Sources said no life was lost in the incident but parts of the palatial mansion were razed.
The motive of the invaders was not immediately known, but a source in the area says the incident might be connected with disagreement between the ex-militant leader and his adversaries.
A close family member is claiming that Ogunboss attended a burial in the community only to learn of the attack. ”He is still in the community doing fine, only that some property were destroyed”, the family member said.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Butswat Asinim, while confirming the incident, notes that no casualty was recorded.
On January 3, gunmen again invaded Peremabiri, destroying properties worth millions of naira. The attack was said to be part of selected targets in the predominantly fishing and farming settlement.
The heavily armed invaders were said to have stormed the community in five speedboats and embarked on shooting spree causing residents to scamper for safety. The residence of one Marcus Richard was allegedly set ablaze.
While a community source says many residents are still hiding in the bush as many houses have been burnt down in the area, the police said, “preliminary investigations revealed that on January 3, 2021 at about 0700 hours unknown gunmen invaded Peremabiri, a riverine community.
“The motive for the attack is unknown at the moment, however the residence of one Marcus Richard was set ablaze. The Command has despatched reinforcement of Police Marine and detectives from State Criminal Investigation Department to beef up security in the area.
‘’Investigation into the incident is ongoing. Efforts are on by the State government to invite notable leaders from the community for a peace meeting.”
Interestingly, calm has been restored to the troubled community following the intervention of the state government.
News Agency of Nigeria reported that rival armed gangs were striving for control of the area, hence the violence, which prompted Bayelsa State Command of Nigeria Police to foster peace among the critical stakeholders.
Governor Douye Diri, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, says the government has commenced investigations into the attack and will spare no effort to unravel those behind it.
The governor is urging residents to be calm as he has equally directed security agencies to ensure adequate protection for everyone in the community.
Some yet to be identified gunmen have been attacking the community in about a week, shooting sporadically and engaging in arson, forcing many people to flee for their safety.