Wike, army disagree over plot to kidnap Rivers REC
As tension continues to mount in Rivers State ahead of Saturday’s polls, Governor Nyesom Wike has alleged that there are plans to kidnap the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to create an excuse for postponing the polls.
He alleged that the plot was being perfected by security agencies in collaboration with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor claimed the state government intercepted intelligence report that the APC, which has been barred by the court from participating in the 2019 elections, intend to use security agencies to generate mass violence in an attempt at disrupting the distribution of electoral materials on Saturday just to force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the exercise.
Governor Wike made these allegations during a town hall meeting in Rivers West Senatorial District at Ahoada yesterday.
His words: “They are struggling to ensure that the governorship and State Assembly elections do not hold in Rivers State. The APC is planning with security agencies to kidnap the Rivers State REC.
“They will send people wearing army uniforms to kidnap the REC so that INEC will be forced to postpone the elections. That is their latest strategy and so I have to let the world know that if anything happens, APC and security services should be held responsible.
“Those who will carry out the plot are not kidnappers, they are security agents organised to work for APC to see that the governorship and State Assembly elections do not hold in Rivers State.
“The security agencies have been organised to ensure that the elections are postponed, but the plan has failed. I am calling on Nigerians to take note of this undemocratic plot.”
But Spokesman, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said the onus lies with Wike to prove his allegations that the army intended to kidnap the REC to disrupt the elections.
Meanwhile, barely four days after 6 Division Nigerian Army Port Harcourt, paraded 53 suspects including 11 corps members, it paraded another 14 suspects over alleged electoral violence yesterday.
Illiyasu said the suspects were arrested at Awofe Community in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State during the Presidential and National Assembly polls.
The suspects, including a 65 year-old man, were not allowed to speak with newsmen, as they were handed over to the police for further investigations and prosecution.
Also, the police have arraigned over 100 suspects over electoral fraud and violence in the state.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, told The Guardian that the Nigeria Army paraded the suspects, which included the State Commissioner for Urban Development, Reason Onya, last week, adding that more suspects would be arraigned today.
Besides, a Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt has granted bail to the Youth Corps members who were arrested during the February 23 elections and paraded by the Army last week.
Chief Magistrate S.D. Jaja granted bail to the Corps member on self-recognition, while nine other suspects from Etche were granted bail with N180000, after pleading not guilty to the two-count charge the police leveled against them.