Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The leadership of the Nigerian Army in the Niger Delta yesterday said it had uncovered a plan by certain elements being sponsored by some unnamed politicians to disrupt next Saturday’s election in the region.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 6 Division, Port Harcourt, covering Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, Major-Gen. Jamil Sarham, in a statement made available to journalists, disclosed that the hoodlums had also procured military uniforms to deceive members of the public.
Signed on his behalf by Col. Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, the military chief said anybody who breaches the law or disrupts the electoral process would be ruthlessly dealt with according to the dictates of the law.
“Credible intelligence available to Headquarters, 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA), has uncovered an unholy plan by some political actors within its Area of Responsibility (AOR) to arm and sponsor miscreants.
“This is in addition to using military-like fatigue dress for deception to cause pandemonium at polling stations for their political gain.
“While covert efforts are on-going to track the source of the weapons and the agents involved in conjunction with sister security agencies, authorities of 6 Division NA wish to unequivocally state that anyone found to be disrupting the electoral process under any guise will be decisively dealt with in accordance with the laws, no matter how highly placed he or she is” the statement said.
The army urged all eligible voters to come out and vote on the rescheduled dates, noting that it will ensure the safety of all residents of the Niger Delta.
It added: “To this end, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division and Land Component Commander (LCC) OPDS Major Gen. Jamil Sarham, wish to reassure the good people of Niger Delta of providing adequate security in conjunction with other security agencies before, during and after the 2019 General Elections.
“He also thanks the good citizens of the Niger Delta for their cooperation and assistance so far rendered to the Division particularly in the area of information dissemination and urge them to do more”
Meanwhile, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the directive to punish election riggers would be implemented across party lines.
Dickson maintained that while it was heartwarming that the President has publicly denounced hoodlums who may want to disrupt the polls, it was also important to ensure that carrying out the order was not selective.
“I listened to the President’s comments calling on the security agencies to deal with troublemakers. I hope that it will also apply to his party leaders.
“Especially in this state where they are election riggers who using security agencies to intimidate fellow citizens and their communities.
“It is heartwarming that the president has condemned those who rig elections, but we also need to watch closely how the security agencies will apply that in respect of people always causing trouble, even his party men” Dickson said.