Governorship Election: Army Rejects INEC’s Report on Rivers

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Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Reviews joint activities with police

Army has described as lopsided the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections in Rivers State, accusing the commission of ignoring the input of the army.

The army also said it would review its participation in joint operations with the police because of the failure of the police command to punish its personnel allegedly involved in the shooting of a soldier during the elections.

Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 6 Division Nigerian Army, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, in a statement issued yesterday night, said: “Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) have observed with dismay and sense of betrayal in the statement made by INEC signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee Festus Okoye, on March 15, 2019. The statement according to INEC was the findings of its Fact-Finding Committee that assessed the situation in Rivers State.

“It is however pertinent to note that, representatives of the 6 Division met with the Fact-Finding Committee on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at the INEC Headquarters in Port Harcourt and had honest discussions and made a written submission to aid the committee in its task.

“Regrettably, none of the Division’s input formed any of the findings of INEC as made public. This clearly indicates lack of trust by an institution that the NA sacrifices so much to assist in the course of performing their role.”

He said INEC failed to capture in its report that two soldiers were attacked by police personnel attached to Governor Nyesom Wike and suspected political thugs.
He said Wike stormed the collation centre at Obio/Akpor at about 10.30p.m on Election Day with his aides.

According to Iliyasu, “In the ensuing melee, Captain Adams Salami was shot at close range by the security aides of Governor Wike while Corporal Adeosun Adebayo was matcheted by Governor Wike’s thugs. Both victims are currently receiving treatment at University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Intensive Care Unit and Military Hospital Port Harcourt respectively with life threatening injuries.”

He said the army had been consulting with the police over the attack but expressed surprise that two press conferences scheduled by the police to address the issue were aborted at the last minute.

He stated: “To this end, in the circumstance, the 6 Division NA as a stakeholder in the 2019 general election takes exception to the lopsided and therefore unfair INEC report and is hereby strongly and totally rejected by the NA.

“The Division is equally disappointed with the attitude exhibited by the Nigerian Police in this regard and hereby request the police leadership to commence full scale investigation of those security aides to Governor Wike that attacked troops at the Obio/Akpor LG Headquarters Collation Centre and shot at Capt AA Salami with a view to appropriately sanction those found responsible/culpable.

“Until that is done, Headquarters 6 Division NA will have to review all existing joint activities with the Rivers State Police Command.”