Army Staged Coup against Rivers in 2019 Elections, Wike Alleges

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Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has alleged that the Nigerian Army staged a coup against the state in the 2019 general election, describing their actions as the worst in the country’s democratic history.

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

Wike said: “It is really unfortunate as 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 before where in an ordinary election, army would 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 electoral commission.”

He regretted that the federal government has never worked to assist the Rivers State Government to 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,” Wike 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 an academic doctor and a chartered accountant in cold blood “simply because they wanted to subvert the will of the people.”

Wike 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 Nigeria was a country, you cannot keep such GOC. He is sabotaging the security network,” the governor alleged.

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

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

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

The lawmaker said the committees would allow all the stakeholders to state their positions for the committees to arrive at the truth and make relevant recommendations