Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson Recruits 10,000 Cultists Ahead of 2016 Election
No less than 10,000 out of the 11,000 youths who reportedly renounced cultism in Bayelsa state were on Saturday enlisted in a youth empowerment programme by the state Gov, Seriake Henry Dickson, SaharaReporters is reporting.
Although the governor at an elaborate ceremony at the Government House Banquet Hall in Yenagoa, said the programme is to ensure they become self-reliant, adding that his team will conduct a meticulous verification exercise to select the 10,000 beneficiaries, local government by local government.
It was however learnt that Dickson bought into the idea for calculated political gains ahead of the 2015 general elections and his re-election contest in 2016.
A resident who spoke to SaharaReporters said “This is just an exercise to worsen the spate of violence, we all know the history of militancy, the initial cache of arms they used were remnants from election duties and that was what took us to where we are today. It is rather unfortunate that we are all sitting on a keg of gunpowder by this policy of government. Let them wake up if they are dreaming.”
A large number of youths who were initially not among the 11,000 that earlier registered to renounce cult participation had stormed the venue of the event, taking advantage of the free transportation announced by the state government.
Their presence is to cash in on the perceived youth empowerment drive of the state government which the governor said is in line with the Restoration programme of his Government through the building of schools, roads, hospitals, investing in security and making our state safe so that people can invest in the state, which will in turn create jobs for the youths.
One of the so-called “repentant cultist” told Sahara reporter that he was lured to join the group because of the empowerment attached to it.
“I can tell you that most of us here are here for the money, since the government is rewarding the lawless and punishing the lawful we have to play along, first it was the militants, now it is the cultists, may be armed robbers and kidnappers will be the next.
“This same government just increased tax burden on civil servants and has announced it will impose additional levies on citizens for refuse disposal. Since there is nothing for the law abiding ones, we have to survive, that is the game,” said one of them.
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