TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
An ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2019 elections in Rivers State, Marvin Kpia-ue, has told the Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the violence and killings that occurred during the presidential and House of Assembly elections in the state on February 23 and March 9 respectively, that the shooting that took place at the collation centre in Khana Local Government Area, leading to the death of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe, was ordered by the police.
Kpia-ue said he served as a registration area centre technical support staff in charge of results e-collation at Khana local government collation centre, alleging that the state Commander of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) whispered to his men before the shooting started.
He claimed that the shooting lead to the death of Dr. Gberegbe, a collation agent of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He said: “An uproar started, when a lightly tinted Hilux van drove into the INEC premises conveying Akin Fakorede and other F-SARS men. At that point, a warning tape that was used to barricade everyone from the collation centre was removed.
“Then, the unarmed civilians there started an outcry, shouting ‘Akin Fakorede, you have come to subvert the will of the people. It will not work; this is Ogoniland.’
“I saw one F-SARS officer approach the passenger’s side of the van put his head into the vehicle and was whispered to by his boss. The next thing I heard was sporadic gunshots by the F-SARS officers,” he stated.
According to him, there was pandemonium; then he noticed that the PDP agent fall down shouting in pain, after being hit by a bullet on his lower abdomen.
He said: “While I was running to safety, because of the shooting, I saw the late Ferry Gberegbe fall to the ground. While I tried to help him, I noticed that I was also shot in my right thigh.
“While he was shouting in pain and holding his stomach, he (Gberegbe) removed his hand on the place he was shot and I saw the bullet hole. Afterwards, I was rushing to a hospital in Bori, Khana and was later taken to Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital where Dr. Nsirim took charge of my case”, Kpia-ue told commission.