Indictment, Allegations against Army on Rivers Poll Unnecessary, CSOs Insist


Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

A group, the Amalgamation of Civil Society Organisations, has said the indictment of the army by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and allegations of professional misconduct against the force over its alleged role during the suspended polls in Rivers State were unnecessary and ill-fated.

The groups also apologised on behalf of people of the state to the army over the unguided statements against it by some politicians in the state.

The Chancellor of International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights (ISSJHR), Dr. Jackson Omenazu, spoke in Port Harcourt when the coalition in a solidarity walk, marched to the 6 Division Headquarters with placards.

Speaking, Omenazu said: “We are here today to console, condole and commend the 6 Division, Nigerian Army for being professional in your conduct during the polls and for the loss of your officers.

“Without your presence and intervention, the election would have been characterised by killings, just like what we had in 2015 when the state was described as a theatre of war.

“We are standing by the General Officer Commanding the 6 Division for providing adequate security during the election in the state. This institution shouldn’t have been disparaged by desperate politicians because they provided security for the election.

“We will continue to support the army as long as they remain professional and we will not allow anybody to insult the army.

He regretted that the INEC failed to acknowledge the reports given to it by the army, adding that it was wrong for the electoral umpire to indict an agency it engaged on security.

“We expected that the INEC would condole with the army for losing their officers who were on duty, but we only heard allegations that the army meddled into a democratic process. We saw the military escorting sensitive material and they did not divert it.

He, however, expressed apologies to the army for the allegations against them, adding that the indictment was a disservice to the military.

“On behalf the good people of Rivers State, we say sorry for the unguided statements against you the army. Those statements are absolutely unnecessary.

“When you tell a man to in the service of providing security to the people that he has not done well it is a great disservice,” he added.

Receiving the solidarity letter on behalf of the GOC, 6 Division, Col. AD Abubakar, said the document would be forwarded to the appropriate office.