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Opposition party stalwarts behind my ordeal with army, Wike’s aide tells panel

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
14 May 2019   |   4:04 am
Special Adviser to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Infrastructure, Otonye Briggs, yesterday told the Justice Monima Danagogo-led...

Nyesom Wike

CSOs decry failure to end killings, kidnappings in Rivers
Special Adviser to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Infrastructure, Otonye Briggs, yesterday told the Justice Monima Danagogo-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry that opposition party chieftains masterminded his mistreatment by the military.

Narrating how the Nigerian Army detained him for 11 days, Briggs accused the 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, of manhandling him and restraining him from performing his duty as Returning and Collation agent for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area during the gubernatorial election.

He stated this while testifying before the panel set up by Governor Wike to investigate causes of electoral violence, killings and other vices during the 2019 polls.

“I was the Returning and Collation agent for PDP in Akuku-Toru Council. Based on that position, I was supposed to be present at the RAC centre to witness the distribution of election materials to the units and wards for the election.

“Four military vehicles drove to where I was with about 15-20 military officers.

They arrested me, restraining me from performing the assignment as PDP returning and collation agent for the March 9, 2019 election. A court order was given on March 20, but instead of the army to release me, they sent me to FSARS.

“The FSARS released me based on the court order after 11 days in cell, under the most agonising experience in the hands of soldiers, who invaded the area and destroyed property,” he stated.

Also, Akuku-Toru Local Council Secretary and Leader of Ward 14, Obonoma Tobins, told the panel that over 70 soldiers, with eight Hilux vans invaded his residence in search of the council chairman, Rowland Sekibo and other chieftains of the opposition party in the area.

Meanwhile, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Rivers State have decried police and government’s failure to tackle the worsening security challenges in the state.

Speaking under the aegis of We the People and Rivers Civil Society Coalition, the group lamented that the country was not only under policed, but also that individuals and government officials appropriate the few policemen for their individual security.

Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Coordinator of the group, Ken Henshaw, expressed worries that the government and the police have not taken courageous steps to end killings, kidnappings and other crimes in the state.

Henshaw noted that in April alone, no fewer than 46 persons were killed, urging the government, police and other security agencies to be proactive in ending the killings and kidnappings in the state.