Don’t allow military intimidate you, Wike tells supporters
APC slams gov over attack on Zakari
From Taiwo Amodu, Abuja, Chris Anucha and Tony John, Port Harcourt
DEPUTY Inspector General of Police (Operations), Sotonye Wakama vowed yesterday that his men are ready to deal with thugs who may want to perpetrate violence in Saturday’s rerun national and state assemblies polls.
Wakama declared readiness to face whatever challenge that may want to truncate Saturday’s rerun elections in the state.
The police boss stated this yesterday, when he addressed leaders of political parties and candidates in the forthcoming rerun elections, at the Police Officers’ Mess in Port Harcourt.
The DIG, who met with Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone Six, Calabar, and service chiefs, as well as heads of other agencies, stressed that security would land hard on any person, irrespective of status in the state, who wants to cause problem.
“We are not here to plead; we are not here to beg; we are not here to besiege or to request. We are here to tell you that, should there be any problem, wherever it rises from, we will deal with that problem with full weight of law. Our intelligence has told us about some groups, cult, violent groups in certain places around the state. More importantly, we know the sponsors. What do I mean? People buy and sponsor violence in the state.
In a related development, police have declared the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State, Sabomabo Jackrich wanted.
Wakama said this yesterday, when he addressed newsmen at the Police Officers Mess in Port Harcourt.
Wakama said Jackrich was declared wanted alongside others at large, sequel to a coordinated raid by the police, where an AK47 rifle and other offensive weapons were recovered from them.
Meanwhile, Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday charged his supporters not to allow themselves to be intimidated by the military during Saturday’s rerun election in the state.
The governor gave the charge in a state broadcast on rerun elections yesterday.
Declaring today and Friday public holidays, to enable workers in the private and public sector participate in the exercise; he urged them to take advantage of the rerun election, to exercise their democratic rights, by voting for candidates of their choice.
“Do not submit to any intimidation by those who seek to scare you away from voting with the military. Take note that no person is allowed to go to the voting areas with uniform security personnel or thugs.
“Now that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to conduct the court-ordered national and state assemblies’ re-run elections in Rivers State, it is incumbent that we take full advantage of the opportunity to, once again, exercise our democratic rights, to vote for the candidates of our choice.”
The governor, however, expressed confidence in INEC conducting free, fair and credible rerun, going by the assurances he said he received from the commission.
He charged security agencies to arrest any person or group of persons, including government vehicles that violate this order and or attempt to act in any way to undermine the peaceful conduct of the re-run elections in the state.”
He also appealed to the security agencies, to rid the state of cult-related killings in the state.
“In line with the ongoing security operations to rid the state of cult-induced violence and criminality, I have requested the Armed Forces to increase security surveillance around some identified flashpoints of cultism and banditry in Abua/Odual, Andoni, Akuku Toru, Ahoada-East, Ahoada-West, Emohua, Ikwerre, Opobo/Nkoro, and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas of the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has condemned what it called, unwarranted attack on the National INEC Commissioner, Mrs. Amina Zakari, and the Nigerian Army.
The governor had alleged that Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi and Zakari had perfected plans to rig the election through swapping of result sheets.
The party, in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Finebone said the party was disturbed by the underserved verbal attack on the INEC commissioner and the military.
“The recent attacks on Mrs. Zakari by Wike seems to be a corollary to his earlier repeated death threats to INEC personnel when he advised them to write their will before coming to conduct the rerun elections in the state. Therefore, his present vituperation appears to be the beginning of implementing his earlier threat,” the party said.
Also reacting, INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, at a joint press conference with Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase declared that Wike’s allegation was unfounded and could not be substantiated.
Yakubu told newsmen that materials for the election arrived Port Harcourt only yesterday.
The allegation was that the commissioner arrived Port Harcourt with result sheets. This isn’t true. As we speak, we are moving the election materials to Rivers State. That allegation is absolutely untrue.
“The materials he talked about on Tuesday just arrived Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
“ It isn’t right to say the INEC commissioner came to Rivers with result sheets in advance of voting.”
In his remarks, Arase said police will protect all political actors across party divides and would also “deal firmly, swiftly and professionally with any individual regardless of his or her political leaning or status who may want to test the will of law enforcement agents by threatening public order, endangering the lives of the electorate, or engaging in any act that is capable of threatening the electoral process.”
Wike had, on Tuesday, when he addressed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally in the state claimed that Zakari arrived Port Harcourt with prepared result sheets to declare results in favour of the APC candidates for the scheduled election.