• Another missing one found alive
• I’ve video on soldiers’ atrocities – Wike
From Chris Anucha, Port Harcourt
THE mind boggling tale of violence, pain and deaths that heralded last Saturday’s national and state Assembly rerun election in River State is far from over as the management of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) has confirmed the death of one of its corps members.
In a statement issued yesterday, NYSC gave the identity of the victim as Okonta Dumebi Samuel with corps number RV/15B/5539.
Okonta, an orphan was said to have been killed by gunmen in Ahoada West Local Government Area. No fewer than 15 persons were killed in the poll which observers said is one of the bloodiest in the annals of elections in the country since the advent of democracy in 1999.
Two other corps members who were with Okonta at the time of the abduction were said to have escaped from the scene through the help of security agents, the statement added.
Okonta, who served at GCSS, Ukpeliede, was described as a patriotic young man by the NYSC management. The statement described the killing as “primitive, barbaric, and ungodly and should be strongly condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.”
The NYSC management promised to work with relevant agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of “this heinous act” are fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“We consider Okonta Samuel’s death as a great loss, not only to his immediate family, but also to all of us in the NYSC family and the entire nation,” the statement added.
While the nation mourns the untimely death of Okonta, another corps member, Anana Aniekan Udoetor, who was earlier reported missing, has been found and is “hale and hearty,” the NYSC said.
A total of 6,880 NYSC members served during the ill-fated rerun polls.
In 2011, nine corps members who served as ad hoc staff in the north were killed by rioters protesting the outcome of the presidential poll.
The victims were: Teidi Tosin Olawale (Kogi state, BSc computer science); Nkwazema Anslem Chukwunonyerem (Imo state, HND electrical electronic engineering), Okpokiri Obinna Michael (Abia state, BSc environmental management), Adowei Elliot (Bayelsa State, BSc computer science) and Adewunmi Seun Paul (Ekiti state, BSc, social sciences).
Others were Adeniji Kehinde Jehleel (Osun state, BSc banking and finance), Gbenjo Ebenezer Ayotunde (Osun state, BSc, education economics), Ukeoma Ikechukwu Chibuzor (Imo State, BSc medical microbiology) and Akonyi Ibrahim Sule (Kogi State, HND business administration).
Meanwhile, the APC has called for Wike’s arrest claiming that over 100 of its members have “to be sent to their early graves” in order for him to become governor.
“Wike is being emboldened by the immunity he enjoys as governor but he does not enjoy immunity from interrogation for murder-related crimes. He should be held responsible for the assassination attempt… relevant security agencies should quickly arrest and interrogate him and bring the full weight of the law on all those involved in the dastardly act,” the party said in a statement signed by Chukwuemeka Eze, Ikanya’s spokesman.
According to the statement: “Wike in only ten months in office is fast turning Rivers state into another Somalia.
“He is attempting to dwarf other evil and satanic regimes such as those of Mobutu Sese Seko, Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa and Idi Amin Dada known for displaying optimum barbarism. Wike now hunts his opponents like a game, with many beheaded, clubbed to death or buried alive like chicken. All these have further exposed Wike as being grossly unfit to occupy the exalted office of governor. We hereby plead with the federal government to rescue us from Wike’s hands before he turns Rivers into a failed state.”
But Governor Nyesom Wike has absolved himself of involvement in the violence that engulfed the election saying that the state government was in possession of documentary evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the military.
Wike who threatened that the videos will be released to the public at the appropriate time accused the military of orchestrating violence in Rivers as a ploy to declare a state of emergency on the state.
“We have videos of the atrocities committed by the military across Rivers State. We shall release them at the appropriate time,” Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike’s spokesman, quoted him as saying.
“There is an attempt to cause violence to declare a state of emergency in Rivers state.”
Wike who spoke yesterday added that the statement by the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the Federal Government was plotting emergency rule in the state should not be disregarded because “there is always an element of truth to every rumour.”
While accusing that the All Progressives Congress (APC) of engaging in propaganda to create the impression of violence, Wike advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address the challenges noticed during the March 19 election when fresh polls are conducted in the eight local government areas where elections were cancelled.
The state government has vowed to prosecute Dakuku Peterside, governorship candidate of the APC and Managing Director of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for alleged murder.
Nwakaudu said in a statement that Peterside “directed his security details to murder an aide to the Chief of Staff to Governor Wike while fleeing with some result sheets from Ikwerre Local Government Area.”