22nd February, 2019
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Less than 12 hours to the commencement of the presidential and National Assembly elections, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has alleged that he survived assassination by soldiers posted at a road checkpoint by the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham.
The assassination attempt is the third alleged sundry criminal offences raised against the army general by Wike.
The governor alleged that he survived an attempt on his life on Thursday night after soldiers, he said were sent by Major General Jamil Sarham, confronted his security details.
The Rivers governor further accused the military of supplying fake uniforms to militants hired by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the purpose of disrupting the elections and unleashing mayhem.
Speaking after a meeting with officials of the British High Commission at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday, Governor Wike said the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has been taking very unprofessional measures to silence PDP members.
He said that he has informed the British High Commission and other foreign missions of the anti-democratic actions of the security forces, especially the Nigerian Army.
He said: “Last night, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army plotted an assassination on my life. Thank God, that was not successful.
“On Friday, 15 February, a day to the 16 February election, the first date for the elections before it was rescheduled, the GOC sent soldiers to cordon off my private residence.
“Yesterday, I was shocked that when I left Government House to see some political leaders, soldiers were trailing me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t have military security details.
“Along Abacha road where you have Algate Hotel, to my surprise I heard my security men shouting that the soldiers are behind us. I have said this severally about the GOC of the 6 Division that nobody should kill because he was promised the position of Chief of Army Staff “.
The governor also alleged that the General Officer Commanding the Division can be promoted a Chief of Army Staff without killing anyone. He said that there is no need to kill innocent people for a personal ambition.
He said that Rivers State is strategically positioned in Nigeria and should not be destabilised for political goals.
“Rivers State is so important to this country. The economy of Nigeria cannot survive without Rivers State. By what they are doing, they are scaring investors away”, Governor Wike said.
He urged the President to talk to the Army to reduce their level of partisanship and illegal activities ahead of the elections.
“The GOC held a meeting with the soldiers yesterday and said they must do everything they can to ensure that the President wins. That is not good. Allow Nigerians to support whoever they want to support”, he said.
He said there is no reason for any fight in the state because the APC is not running in the Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly Elections in Rivers State.
He regretted that the Nigeria Army has started arresting PDP members in Eleme and other local government areas. He said that 182 persons have been penciled down for arrest by the Army.
Earlier, the Political Officer of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Louis Edwards said that they were in the state to observe the elections.
She said that the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Rivers State assured her that things would work well. She said that she is looking forward to a peaceful Elections.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has issued a statement to deny any attempt on the governor’s life.
Read the Army’s response below:
LIES AND CHEAP BLACKMAIL AGAINST THE 6 DIVISION NIGERIAN ARMY
It is clear that the political atmosphere in our country has reached its crescendo with political actors outwit ting each other. However, most worrisome is the activities of some politicians who find pleasure in maligning the NA.
Ordinarily, 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) as a respected institution would not join issues with any politician or political organization as the NA has over time reiterated and demonstrated its apolitical posture and professional responsibility in line with the Chief of Army Staff constant directive.
However, in the light of irresponsible utterances, through politically motivated allegations against the Division in the last one week, compelled the Division through this medium to warn mischief makers to stay clear of the NA.
Available intelligence report has it that series of planned campaign of calumny against the Div and its leadership is being perfected.
For the record, 6 Div expects more from these detractors. The NA through the Div wishes to reiterate its determination to ensure the conduct of a secured, peaceful a credible 2019 general elections.
Let me reiterate further the resolve and commitment of the Nigerian army under the command of Lt Gen TY Buratai to having a professionally responsive Nigerian army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.
To this end, we enjoined the electorate to avoid actions that could create chaos and insecurity during and after the elections. The public in 6 Division Area of Responsibility are requested to report suspicious actions or movement to the following numbers: 09027771482 07055554967 09069799721 08180690553.
You are kindly requested to disseminate this information to the general public. Thank you for your usual cooperation.
Deputy Director Army Public Relations
22 February 2019