Rivers Elections: Army Faults INEC’s Report, Seeks Probe Of Police Involvement.

 Rivers Elections: Army Faults INEC’s Report, Seeks Probe Of Police Involvement.

The Nigerian Army on Monday faulted and rejected a report by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), over its position as regards the governorship election in Rivers state.

According to a statement issued by the Deputy Director Army Public Relations in Charge of 6 Division, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the Army accused INEC’s fact-finding committee as led by Festus Okoye, of publishing a lopsided report which did not take into full account the role the Force played in assisting the electoral umpire to execute its

duties in Rivers.

“Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) have observed with dismay and sense of betrayal in the statement made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee Festus Okoye Esq on 15 March 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 form 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,” Colonel Iliyasu said.

The army in its statement also faulted the role played by some operatives of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in the Rivers elections, the Army demanded that a full-blown investigation be carried out by the leadership of the NPF.

Below is a full statement regarding the army’s take on the elections in Rivers state and the INEC’s fact-finding report.

Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) have observed with dismay and sense of betrayal in the statement made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee Festus Okoye Esq on 15 March 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 form any of the findings of INEC as made public.

This clearly indicates a lack of trust by an institution that the NA sacrifices so much to assist in the course of performing their role.

Genesis of the suspension of Governorship/State House of Assembly elections process in Rivers State

What INEC failed to mention or even consider is the fact that at about 10:30 pm on Saturday 9th March 2019, troops of 6 Division NA detailed at the outer perimeter of Obio/Akpor Local Government Headquarters Collation Center were brazenly attacked by Governor Wike’s security aides and armed thugs who stormed the collation center with the Governor in a convoy of more than 50 vehicles while collation of results was going on.

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. Thereafter, election materials were carted away and electoral officials abducted by the Governor’s thugs to an unknown destination. This was made known to the INEC Fact-Finding Committee but INEC does not see it worth condemning or mention in its report.

Consequently, after due consultations and considerations between 6 Division and the Rivers State Police Command on Sunday the 10th of March 2019, the Rivers State Police Command, on their own, – took the initiative to invite the media to the hospitals where the 2 victims are receiving treatment and thereafter to host a press conference on

the matter with the view to dissociate itself from the unprofessional conduct exhibited by their men attached to Wike and tell the public what disciplinary action the command will take or is already taking. However, while the visit to the victims was accomplished and the 2 victims interviewed by the media, the press conference was aborted by

the Police after journalists have been assembled.

Ayomide Oyewole

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