2019: Rivers communities allege plot by Army, SARS to abet rigging

February 21st, 2019

…Seek intervention of Intl community

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

The people of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State have accused the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of plans to abet rigging in the forthcoming elections in their areas.

This as the indigenes of the riverine areas in the state have also alerted of influx of threatening security personnel in their communities.

The two ethnic nationalities have separately called on the international community to hold the two federal government security agencies responsible in the event of any destruction of lives and property in the areas.

The riverine LGAs included Akuku Toru, Andoni, Asari Toru, Bonny, Degema, Ogu/Bolo, Okrika and Opobo/Nkoro, while Ogoni LGAs were Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai.

The two ethnic nationalities, who are members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in separate press briefings in Port Harcourt, yesterday, expressed disappointment at the alleged partisanship of Army and SARS in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the riverine LGAs, immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, Tele Ikuru, said: “We are peace loving political leaders of oil and gas producing riverine Ijaw communities of Rivers State.

“The purpose of this press conference is to draw the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the evolving plan by the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to destabilize, rig and abort the peaceful conduct of the 2019 elections in the riverine communities of Rivers State”.

According to Ikuru, some political thugs have been recruited by mischievous politicians to disrupt the February 23 and March 9 elections in the state.

Similarly, Senator Lee Maeba, who spoke for Ogoni ethnic nationality, expressed worries about the repeated hate speeches allegedly made by enemies of peaceful electoral process in their areas.

Maeba expressed: “We wish to note the promise by the Federal Government and INEC to ensure a peaceful, free, fair and credible conduct of the general election and restate our willingness to mobilize our people across the four Ogoni Local Government Areas to fully and effectively participate in electing the leaders of our choice.

“We are a peaceful and law-abiding people and we do not want anybody to disturb our peace, kill our people and destroy our property in the name of elections.

“We are aware that they (security agencies) intend to exploit the extra-judicial shoot at sight order of Mr. president to kill and maim our voters and supporters perceived to be against the APC.

“We are constrained, therefore, to call on the international community, especially the United States, Britain and the European Union, to put maximum pressure on INEC and the Federal Government to allow peaceful free, fair and credible elections in Ogoniland”, he demanded.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, has dismissed the allegations, describing it as “purely a ruse”.

Colonel Iliyasu advised Rivers politicians to be mature in playing politics, saying that there was no need to heat up the polity.

“This is purely a ruse. There is no truth in the allegation. I will advice politicians in Rivers State to show some level of maturity. They should not use their hands to destroy the state”, Iliyasu cautioned.

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