Two soldiers, Captain Adams Salami and Corporal Adeosun Adebayo, has alleged that they attacked at their duty post at the Collation Centre for Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State during the suspended March 9, 2019 Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, by policemen attached to the convoy of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
This is as three collation agents of the African Action Congress (AAC) during the suspended elections in the state, Hon. Chikaodi Dike, Dr. Lawrence Chuku and Chief Alex Weleh, has accused Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, of masterminding their abduction from the Obio/Akpor Collation Centre.
The two injured soldiers, drawn from 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, are currently receiving medical attention at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) and the Military Hospital, Port Harcourt, respectively.
Narrating his ordeal to newsmen in Port Harcourt, one of the soldiers, Salami said: “At about 23.00 hours, we got information that hoodlums were trying to invade the Obio/Akpor Collation Centre.
“So, we were asked to provide security in that area, which we did in liaison with policemen, posted there. We agreed that there would be limited into the premises.
“Five minutes later, to my surprise, the governor’s convoy came in with about 30 to 40 cars with hoodlums, thugs; some were in police uniform shooting sporadically within the premises. As usual, we decided to step back. I was pleading with them as a soldier to resolve this amicably.”
Also narrating his ordeal, Corporal Adeosun Adebayo, said: “I was deployed to Obio/Akpor centre and the crown was too much. So, we had to reduce the crowd; it was then that the policemen in the governor’s convoy started mobbing us and hitting us with their weapons.
“I could not figure out the reason because nobody asked anybody any question. The policemen were hitting us with the nozzle of their riffle.”
Meanwhile, the three AAC collation agents, Hon. Chikaodi Dike, Dr. Lawrence Chuku and Chief Alex Weleh, alleged that Wike led a convoy of over 100 vehicles loaded with gun-wielding men in police uniform and suspected thugs, to invade the Collation Centre, located inside the Obio/Akpor Council headquarters, Rumuodomaya at about 11:00pm and whisked them away.
The trio, who are chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), claimed that they were forced into different vehicles in the governor’s convoy and dropped off at about 1:00pm on Sunday, March 10, 2019, pointing out that collation of results was yet to commence when the incident occurred because the collation centre was under lock and key.
Narrating his experience before newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, Dike, who is a former Chairman of Obio/Akpor local government area, said: “For the records, I am the collation agent for AAC in Obio/Akpor local government area.
“As agent of the party, after the elections on that day, we proceeded to the Collation Centre, which is Obio/Akpor local government secretariat. While we were in the Council secretariat, wards were brining their results. Different wards were coming to the Council, though it was late; between 11:00pm and 12:00 midnight.
“We had the presence of Nigerian Police inside the Council while the military were outside the Council, at the gate providing protection for the Collation Centre. Surprisingly, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Barrister Nyesom Wike came with over 200 persons fully armed. Some were wearing Army uniforms, some were wearing Police uniforms and some were in mufti. Their vehicles were over 100; they stormed the Council.
Before he (Wike) came, the Electoral Officer for Obio/Akpor was inside the Council, at the Council Chairman’s office. The governor came and invaded the place. His men were shooting and everybody was scampering for their lives. In the process, I was abducted by the governor alongside with Chief Alex Wele and Dr. Lawrence Chuku. Also abducted was the Electoral Officer for Obio/Akpor. He (Wike) then carted away all the electoral materials.
Narrating his own ordeal, Chuku, who is also a former Chairman of Obio/Akpor local government area, said: “As party agents, we arrived at the Collation Centre, which is local government headquarters before collation will start. When we got there, we noticed that the Collation Centre was locked. So, some wards that had cone in were only hanging around probably waiting for collation to begin.
“The Electoral Officer and the Collation Officer were at the Chairman’s office and we were down awaiting for the collation to begin when the governor and his men invaded the place. What we heard were gunshots from the main gate and suddenly, the governor’s convoy came in.
“Later after the abduction and carting away of elector materials to an unknown destination, we were dropped off at Rumuola at about 1:00am by the governor himself. We now heard that the military men that were posted to safeguard live and property within the perimeter of the Council were manhandled.
“So, in essence, there was no collation in Obio/Akpor local government area. There was no single collation of any result from any ward because we are the authentic agents of the party. We are therefore calling on INEC to discountenance whatever result anybody will bring in.”
On his part, one of the agents, Chief Alex Welsh, said: “We were exchanging pleasantries across party line when we had the the governor was coming with his entourage. It was like a war situation. I was thoroughly beaten up and my agent’s tag was torn.”
When contacted, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, confirmed that two soldiers attached to the Collation Centre at Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State were attacked.
Reacting to the development, Publicity Secretary of APC in the state, Chris Finebone, said the governor should have been involved in an incident that led to the shooting of two soldiers, adding that the military were only providing perimeter security.
Finebone explained that the two soldiers were rushed to the hospital, where medical workers worked round the clock to save their lives.
In his own reaction, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, who said the incident never happened, accused the APC and AAC of doing everything possible to divert the attention if the public from their failure.
Okah said: “They are clowns. No such thing happened. The APC and their ally AAC failed the election. They are doing everything possible to divert attention from their shameful failure.
“Why would anybody abduct them? Of what use is their adoption? To gain what? They should bury their head in shame that they were moving with soldiers to thwart the wishes of their people.”
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