SP Asinim Butswat, the Bayelsa State Police Public Relations Officer, has denied knowledge of the deadly threats posed by Force of Egbesu, a new militant group, to disrupt the 2023 general election.
“I’m not aware of the threats from the Bassan clan,” he said. “If I know I will provide further comments.”
However, in a video obtained by FIJ, the militant group vows that the 2023 general election, particularly in the Bassan clan of the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, will be bloody.
“This video that I’m doing, Mr. President, listen to me and listen very good, and also governors in the Niger Delta. I’m the force of Egbesu. I’m doing this video for Bayelsa State and the president,” the leader of the group said. “This forthcoming elections, if the governor and the president don’t know what to do, I’m the force of Egbesu.”
He continued: “These are my war boats and these are my fighters. I’m getting myself ready always, 24 hours. I’m coming for you people for the election, if you don’t know what to do.
“Mr. President, and the governor, if you know what to do, come to me, or else there will be no election for Bassan clan.
“President, governor and senators, listen to me. There will be bloody elections in the Southern region local government. Know what to do.”
Meanwhile, a concerned member of the Bassan clan, who asked not to be named, told FIJ on Tuesday that because of the “sensitive nature of the matter, he would not disclose any information”.
“I think it’s not something I will have to expose just like that for a singular fact that for the people of Bassan clan, we would like to first of all put our house in order before putting anything out to the public,” he said.
“I think for now, we would be mute on our clan, Bassan. Until the thoughts, yearnings and aspirations of the people are put in order, we will not come out to make any public comments. I think that’s sensitive enough. I can’t just say things on my own.”
Egbesu is traditionally the god of justice invoked by the Ijaw people of the Niger Delta region for combating evil. The Egbesu force is believed to be used in defence or to correct an injustice.
Ige is a reporter with FIJ, in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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