Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has declared that the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham has planned the arrest of 10 local government council chairmen in the state in a bid to scuttle the elections in the state.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Governor Wike said that the intention of the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army is to generate insecurity and violence through undue provocation of the people.
Governor Wike added that the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has also pencilled down 182 persons who will be arrested across the 23 Local Government Areas. He said majority are PDP members.
Governor Wike said: “The GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham has stated that he will arrest the Chairman of Ikwerre, Abua/Odual, Mayor of Port Harcourt, Chairman of Bonny and Degema Local Government Area.
“Other Chairmen to be arrested by the GOC include, Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru, Gokana, Khana and Eleme Local Government Areas”.
The governor noted: “What offence have these council chairmen committed to warrant this illegal intimidation? If they committed any offences, were these offences committed within the election period? Why were they noted arrested before now.
“These are the actions that will lead to crisis . Allow the people to vote freely and their votes must count. Rivers people must be allowed to vote”.
He said that Rivers State is for Rivers people and security agencies will not be allowed to waste the lives of the people in the name of elections.
“If Major General Jamil Sarham has been promised the post of the Chief of Army Staff, it will not be at the expense of the lives of our people”, he said.
Governor Wike expressed concern that the security agencies are misinterpreting the Presidential Directive on ballot box snatching. He said that the Nigerian Army and the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad have seen the directive as a leeway to kill innocent people, even when the Army and Police are the real culprits.
The governor regretted that police and army fake uniforms are being produced for the purpose of disrupting the elections on Saturday by APC leaders.
He noted that despite the directives by heads of national security agencies, the situation in Rivers State is different as the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad Commander, Akin Fakorede are engaged in illegal activities during the elections.
“The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is moving around with a battalion of soldiers. Several trucks of soldiers are at his residence of Ernest Ikoli in Old GRA.
“While Amaechi is using the soldiers to commit electoral atrocities, the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham and Akin Fakorede are obviously partisan, supporting the APC” he said.
He noted that APC is not participating in the core of the elections as they will field candidates for National Assembly, State Assembly and Governorship Elections.
The governor said that the function of the security agencies is to secure voters, ad-hoc staff and election materials.