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Heavy military presence heightens tension in Rivers


Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike

A climate of fear now pervades Rivers State over the deployment of soldiers to some communities ahead of today’s governorship and state assembly elections.

Governor Nyesom Wike has condemned the unlawful arrest of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members by the army.

There was an unusual presence of siren-blaring soldiers and policemen in Port Harcourt and environs. This has heightened fear of violence during the polls.  

The city, since yesterday, had been almost lifeless, with all the eateries, restaurants, cinema, supermarkets, nightclubs and bars deserted.

The Guardian gathered that there was deployment of the army in Ikwerre, Okrika, Ahoada West, Bonny, Asari Toru and Akuku Toru councils.

Wike, in a state broadcast, admonished security agencies to be professional and unbiased in the discharge of their duties for the peaceful conduct of the polls.

On the arrest of the Commissioner of Education, Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, by the army, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said “the military’s responsibility in the electioneering process is only to assist” civil authority, police and other relevant security agencies to provide a secure, peaceful and enabling environment for the successful and transparent conduct of the election. 

“Any military personnel confirmed to be involved in any professional misconduct would be dealt with decisively in accordance with the law,” he said. 

PDP chairman, Felix Obuah, said his party members across the state were living in torment, as soldiers were invading homes, raiding vehicles and molesting them.

“PDP members are being hunted and hounded by soldiers. This is happening simultaneously in all the major roads in the state. On all the roads leading to Ogoni, Andoni and Opobo, Ikwerre, Kalabari, Ahoada and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, passengers are being searched and any person spotted to belong to PDP is brought down, beaten and tortured,” he alleged.

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