Thursday, February 28, 2019 8:39 am
▪Asks the GOC 6 Division to explain his involvement in the snatching of electoral materials and abduction of INEC Staff
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom says the State has written to the International Criminal Court to prosecute the General Officer Commanding ( GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarhem for crimes against humanity.
The Governor said this following allegation that he attempted to compromise the soldiers deployed for election duty in Rivers for the last Saturday’s National Assembly and presidential election to work in favour of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP by the Army Commander.
But while countering the allegations, Wike said instead the GOC should explain to Nigerians why troops from the 6 Division of Nigerian Army stormed the Collation Centres in Ikwerre, Emohua and Okrika Local Government Areas to allegedly steal electoral materials and concoct results.
The Governor accused the GOC of issuing false statements which will not save him from prosecution.
He described allegations that he tried to compromise soldiers of the 6 Division as false, malicious and diversionary .
He said: “We are doing a petition to the International Criminal Court. We are demanding justice for all those killed by the GOC and his lieutenants.
“We will also send a petition to all the major embassies in the country on the atrocities committed against Rivers people by the GOC and his soldiers. We have also ready sent a petition to the Chief of Army Staff on the criminal actions of the GOC”.
Governor Wike stated that he has credible intelligence that the GOC has concluded plans to open fire on his convoy, with the objective of causing a deadly shoot-out.
He noted that three Local Government Electoral Officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) indicted soldiers of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army for orchestrating electoral violence, snatching election materials and criminally colluding with APC leaders to concoct results during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Mrs Mary Efeture Imawuya INEC Electoral Officer of Ikwerre LGA, INEC Electoral Officer for Emohua Local Government Area, Kenneth Etah and INEC Electoral Officer of Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Leo Okon who addressed the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre at Elekahia were unequivocal in their indictments of the soldiers and their criminal activities during the elections”, he said.
“The major problem they should defend is the INEC Officers who declared that the soldiers of the Nigerian Army abducted them , carted away materials and concocted results”, he added.
The governor alleged that it was the soldiers and the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who abducted the Electoral Officer of Ikwerre LGA and compelled her to write results.
Governor Wike denied ever making an attempt to compromise the electoral process. He denied ever offering money to the soldiers to act illegally.
Explaining the circumstances that led to his phone call to the an officer of the Nigerian Army , Wike noted that when the soldiers arrested the Rivers State Commissioner of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Dr Reason Onya who was among approved PDP agents for escort of electoral materials, the Commissioner called him.
He noted that he requested to speak with the Officer to demand the release of Onya who was on legal electoral function for the PDP.
He said the officer who declined talking called back later and he informed him that Onya was on a legal assignment.
He noted that no bribe was offered.
Governor Wike said in his capacity as Governor, he spoke with about 10 different officers when PDP official agents raised concerns.
The Governor said that the ‘mischievous’ press briefing by the 6 Division is tantamount to a coup against a constituted authority.
“The Army cannot be a judge in their matter. You cannot parade officials on legal Electoral duties. You cannot change the narrative. They have violated all known laws,” he said.