2019 election: Nyesom Wike speaks on killings, destruction in Rivers

Nyesom Wike
Nyesom Wike
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​First of all, let me on behalf of the Government and people of Rivers State express my heartfelt condolences to the families of all those that were murdered by the army and the APC thugs before, during and after the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Abbonnema, Obonnoma, Asarama and other communities in Rivers State. May their innocent souls rest in perfect peace.

2.​Recall that on the 14th of February 2019 I made a special broadcast in which I alerted the nation about the plans by the Minister of Transportation and the APC to cause mayhem in the State and scuttle the 2019 general elections with the active support of some operatives of the Nigerian Army and the Police.

2,​Before then, I had petitioned the Chief of Army Staff, the Acting Inspector General of Police and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about the sweeping threat and looming invasion of the State with armed thugs of the APC with the covert and overt support of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Major-General Jamil Sarham and the Commander of the Rivers State Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Mr. Victor Akin Fakorede.

3.​In my Press Statement on the 16th of February 2019, following the sudden postponement of the general elections by one week by INEC, I reiterated the existence and seriousness of the plot by the APC, the Police and the Army to overrun polling stations and collations across the State. I also drew the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the despicable acts, which the army and the Police carried out at the Premises of the Central Bank, Port Harcourt in preventing the distribution of materials to Local Government Areas as well as arresting local leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party.

4.​In the week preceding yesterday’s elections, various communities and interests groups of the PDP in Rivers State issued comprehensive press statements alerting the nation about their fears and concerns over the unrefuted conspiracy by the trio of Rotimi Amaechi, Major-General Jamil Sarham and Victor Akin Fakorede to violently scuttle the peaceful conduct of the general elections in Rivers State.

5.​In my broadcast to the State on the 21st of February, I again alerted the nation and the international community about this same plot by the Minister of Transportation and the APC to actualize their threat to destabilize and rig the elections, at all costs, especially in the Riverine Local Government Areas of the State, even if it meant killing and destroying innocent lives and property in the wake.

6.​Yesterday, all our fears and concerns for the peaceful conduct of the general elections in Rivers State were completely vindicated as the army literarily took over the conduct of the general elections and aided armed thugs of the APC to prevent distribution of election materials, disrupt voting, snatch elections materials and chase away PDP agents from collation centres across the State.

7.​In Abonnema, a criminal declared wanted by the State, christened Don Pedro led a band of APC armed thugs to the Local Government’s Registration Area Centre (RAC) to forcefully stop the distribution of elections materials to the various wards and units of Akuku Toru Local Government Area.

8.​The people of the community resisted and insisted on having the opportunity to exercise their rights to vote for the party and candidates of their choice.

9.​However, instead of disarming and arresting the APC armed thugs to prevent the general elections from being scuttled, the army intervened on the side of APC militia and in the ensuing confusion and confrontation killed 15 innocent persons and wounded several others.

10.​As I speak, the army are ravaging the entire Abonnema community and killing young men found in their homes.

11.​In Bonny, Rotimi Amaechi’s ally and former Commissioner of Transport, George Tolofari led a band of APC thugs to cordon off the RAC centre with the support of the army and prevented the elections from holding in that Local Government Area.

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12.​At Okrika, APC thugs snatched election materials from four riverine wards to an unknown destination, also with the support of the army.

13.​This same scenario was repeated in parts of Ahoada West, Asari Toru, Emouha Degema, and Opo/Nkoro Local Government Areas of the State.

14.​Again, in the ensuring confusion and anarcy the army shot and killed a youth corper as well as an INEC’s ad hoc staff in Emouha and Degema Local Government Areas respectively.

15.​Even now we are informed that the army, on the directive of the Minister of Transport has chased away the legitimate election personnel, including all PDP agents and taking over the collation of results in Emouha and Ikwerre Local Government Areas of the State, where the Minister woefully lost the general elections.

16. Indeed, the Transport Minister personally ambushed the Ikwerre Local Government Electoral Officer with his thugs and held her hostage for hours in his determination to change the results of the elections in that Local Government area.

17.​I am persuaded to believe that Nigerians generally are not surprised at the ugly turn of events, especially the bloodbath that characterized some parts of the general elections in Rivers as the Minister of Transport clearly and brazenly acted on what he had openly boasted he would do even before Mr. President during their party’s Presidential rally in Port Harcourt.

18.​But, like all well meaning Nigerians, I dare to ask: does the ambition of Mr. President to cling on to power warrant the gruesome and coldblooded murder of innocent souls in Rivers State by the Minister of Transportation and his armed gangs?

19.​Must the Minister of Transportation shed innocent blood, desecrate the land of Abonnema and humiliate our people in pursuit of the re-election of our President?

20.​Are the people Abonnema and indeed, kalabari happy with the occupation of their land and the way it was turned to a minefield of killings and destruction by the army on account of someone’s ambition to remain relevant in national politics and hopefully be re-appointed?

21.​Are the APC leaders of Kalabari, especial Mr. Tonye Cole, Prince Tonye Princewill and Professor Charles Dokubo pleased with the killings and destruction in Abonnema and other parts of kalabari by the army?

22.​ Can they in all conscience defend and or be happy to be the among the principal actors with the Transport Minister to inflict such horrendous levels of killings and devastation to their own people and communities just to prove how connected they are to the Federal Government and the nation’s military? What a shame?

23.​Let it be known that those who masterminded the murderous assault on Abonnema and other communities in Rivers State last Saturday have bloodstains on their hands, for which they are all answerable before the Almighty God.

24.​I wish to assure all and sundry that we shall as a government pursue justice for the families of the victims against the perpetrators of the mayhem, killings and destructions in Abonema, Buguma, Degema and other places no matter how powerful they may seem and how long it may take.

25.​I call on Mr. President to please, in the name of God direct the army to withdraw the occupation and siege on Abonnema and Bonny communities so that the people can go about with their normal lives.

26.​Finally, I urge the people of Rivers State to be vigilant and continue to pray for peace to prevail in our State.

27.​Thank you for your attention and may God continue to bless our dear Rivers State.

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