• Reps to summon Army
From Chris Anucha and Tony John Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned a visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Army to Governor Nyseom Wike.
The party alleged Wike sponsored the visit.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday by the APC state Chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanaya alleged that the purpose of the visit was to blackmail and stampede the Nigerian Army out of Ogoniland, before the conclusion of the outstanding rerun elections process in Rivers South East Senatorial zone.
Regardless, the House will invite the Nigerian Army over its alleged involvement in the killings of people, particularly in Yeghe community in Gokana Local Government area, and some communities in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State on February 22 and 23.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Army, Rima Shawulu-Kwewum stated this yesterday when he briefed newsmen in Port Harcourt, shortly after their fact-finding tour of Yeghe community and other neighbouring communities allegedly affected by the recent Army onslaught.
The Army, it was alleged, on February 22 invaded Yeghe community in search of a former militant leader, Chief Solomon Ndigbara, who, the military accused of kidnapping and gunrunning.
Ikanya also accused the governor of planning to use cultists and former militants, led by Solomon Ndigbara, to cause fear and insecurity, including killings, in Ogoniland, with the aim of preventing the people from exercising their franchise during the forthcoming rerun elections.
Ikanya further alleged that some chiefs and individuals were paid huge sums of money to make false presentations to the House Committee members during the visit.
“Again, observers also noted the various interactions between the committee members and the governor during their stay in the state and concluded that the committee members were compromised through financial inducements to turn out a damning report against the deployment of the Army in troubled parts of Ogoni to pave way for getting the Army out of the way before the conclusion of the suspended rerun elections in the area for the benefit of the PDP and their candidates,” he said.
He called on the Army, House of Representatives and other stakeholders to carry out their constitutional responsibilities, especially in ensuring that there is peace and security in Ogoniland and other parts of Nigeria.
“No one should be swayed by the blackmail contrived, nurtured and sponsored by Wike as part of his scheme to stop Senator Magnus Abe from consummating his victory to the Senate,” Ikanya said.
In his reaction, Wike told the committee that the reports of alleged insecurity and political killings before the legislative rerun elections in the state on March 19, 2016, were concocted by APC.
According to him, the reports by those he described as misguided politicians, were intended to mislead Nigerians.
The governor told the lawmakers that, after the rerun elections, the sponsored propaganda reports no longer dominate the media because, according to him, there are no political killings in the state.
He said: “Before the rerun elections, you heard of repeated reports of alleged political killings, sponsored by misguided politicians. Now that the elections are over, you no longer hear such reports.”
“Like every other state, we have our security challenges, but we don’t have political killings. We have cases of cult related violence, but the security agencies are tackling the issue frontally with the support of the Rivers State Government.”
He decried a situation where politicians play politics with security, noting that the security challenges in the state were prompted by the politicisation of the state’s security framework.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Army, Mr. Rimamde Shawulu Kwewum, had said the committee was in the state on a fact finding mission following a petition against the army by CLO on the killings in Ogoni communities.
He said the committee was not in the state to apportion blame but to determine what led to the alleged death of 24 persons during the military invasion.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives has said it