Aminu Iliyasu, the Deputy Director Army Public Relations has described the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) statement that it played a role in the disruption of electoral processes in Rivers state as a sign of betrayal and lack of trust.
It will be recalled that in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, it was revealed that the commission had set up a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back on the widespread disruption of collation of results of the elections conducted on the 9th of March 2019 in Rivers state.
Festus had revealed that the committee’s findings showed that some soldiers and armed gangs invaded the collation centres, which resulted in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials.
He went on to express the commission’s displeasure “with the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in Rivers State disrupting the collation process and attempting to subvert the will of the people.”
However, in a statement released by Iliyasu on Monday evening, the Nigerian Army said they felt betrayed by the commission’s statement. The security agencies said that INEC statements “clearly indicate lack of trust by an institution that the NA sacrifices so much to assist in the course of performing their role.”
Going down memory lane into what transpired during the Rivers state Governorship/State House of Assembly elections, the Nigerian Army said that INEC failed to disclose to Nigerians that security aides of Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, attacked them.
It also revealed that armed thugs loyal to the governor attacked collation centre in a convoy of more than 50 vehicles and that “Captain Adams Salami was shot at close range by the security aides of Governor Wike while Corporal Adeosun Adebayo was matcheted by Governor Wike’s thugs.”
A part of the statement read, “Both victims are currently receiving treatment at University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Intensive Care Unit and Military Hospital Port Harcourt respectively with life threatening injuries. Thereafter, election materials were carted away and electoral officials abducted by the Governor’s thugs to an unknown destination. This was made
known to the INEC Fact-Finding Committee but INEC does not see it worth condemning or mention
in its report,”
“Consequently, after due consultations and considerations between 6 Division and the Rivers State Police Command on Sunday the 10th of March 2019, the Rivers State Police Command, on their own, – took the initiative to invite the media to the hospitals where the 2 victims are receiving treatment and thereafter to host a press conference on the matter with the view to dissociate itself from the unprofessional conduct exhibited by their men attached to Wike and tell the public what disciplinary action the command will take or is already taking. However, while the visit to the victims was accomplished and the 2 victims interviewed by the media, the press conference was aborted by the Police after journalists have been assembled,“
The Nigeria Police force were also not left out as the Army did not hide its disappointment in the attitude of the Police and also requested the security agency to commence “full scale investigation of those security aides to Governor Wike that attacked troops at the Obio/Akpor LG Headquarters Collation Center and shot at Capt AA Salami with a view to appropriately sanction those found responsible/culpable,”.
Giving its final stance, the Nigerian Army said until the investigation is done “Headquarters 6 Division NA will have to review all existing joint activities with the Rivers State Police Command.”