Army’s Action in Rivers during Poll Worst in Nigeria’s History, Says Gov

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Nyesom Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has stated that the Nigerian Army staged a coup against Rivers State during the 2019 general elections, describing their actions as the worst in the nation’s democratic history.

Addressing the Joint House of Representatives Committees on Army, Police, Human Rights and Justice at the Government House, Port Harcourt Monday, Wike said the Nigerian Army acted illegally because they were working to impose a pre-determined leadership on Rivers State.

He said: “It is really unfortunate. All of us know that there was a coup in this state organised by the Nigerian Army. In the history of this country, it has never happened where during ordinary election Army will begin to kill people for no just cause.

“Because they believe a particular person or a particular party must win, it doesn’t matter how many people die. It was shown on national television. We watched how the army invaded the whole electoral commission.”

He regretted that the federal government has never worked to assist Rivers State Government fight insecurity.

“This is the only state the federal government has never assisted to fight insecurity. Instead of us to team up and fight insecurity, you politicise it.

“Even if you make recommendations, nothing will happen. I don’t know whether we are in a military regime or civil Administration,” he said.

The governor noted that aside the army, the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARs) has been a major anti-democratic force in the state, since the 2016 rerun elections.

He pointed out that the F-SARs murdered a Ph.D holder and chartered accountant in cold blood simply because they wanted to subvert the will of the people.

He wondered why the General Officer, Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army is still unpunished, despite the negative roles he played during the elections.

“The GOC here is a politician. Nothing has happened to him because he was sent. If it was when the country was a country, you cannot be keeping that GOC. He is sabotaging the security network,” he said.

He suggested that urgent measures must be taken to rejig the security architecture of the country in view of the nationwide security challenges.

The governor said rather than address the security challenges facing the country, security agencies move against critics of security failures.

Earlier, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Army, Rimande Shawule Kwewum, said they were in the state to investigate the killings by the F-SARs on the basis of a motion by the member representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Mr Kingsley Chinda, on the killing of Dr Ferry Gberegbe during the elections.

He said the joint House of Representatives Committees were in the state on a fact-finding mission.

He said the committees would allow all the stakeholders to state their positions for the committee to arrive at the truth and make relevant recommendations.

The federal lawmaker said that there is a correlation between insecurity and under-development, adding that countries that suffer insecurity hardly make progress.