Army in Rivers State

The Army has blamed the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, for being the cause of the killings of both civilians and soldiers during the 2019 elections.

They accused the security men attached to the governor of shooting at soldiers stationed at the collation centre in the Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State during the elections leading to the death of three soldiers with one injured.

This was part of the allegations made by the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Major Gen. Jamil Sarham when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged killing of employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Ferry Gberegbe and Mrs. Ibisaki Amachree.

At the hearing, Sarham said soldiers deployed for electoral exercise in Rivers particularly those deployed in the collation centre, acted professionally in the face of provocation by those allegedly sponsored by the state.

The GOC said soldiers were also killed during the elections, including one Lieutenant Kurumi who was killed on February 23 and three other soldiers who were killed on March 2.

Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Rimande Shawulu, said the lawmakers had visited Rivers where they met with Wike, chairmen of the LGAs and other stakeholders.

Soldiers in Rivers State Blocking INEC Office

He said, “We spent two days taking testimonies. We have the presentation of the two of them; the governor and the (INEC) Commissioner whose house was invaded. What really happened in the case of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe?”

Responding, Sarham said, “Operation Save Conduct is designed to assist the Nigeria Police and INEC to conduct the 2019 election.

“So, arrest or whatsoever, anytime it was made, the suspects were usually transferred to the civil police”.

However, the hearing, took a dramatic turn when a member of the committee from Rivers, Boma Goodhead, accused the army of telling lies about military operations during the polls.

Wiping off the tears on her face, she said, “What took place in Rivers State during the elections and other places were done by the Nigerian Army and SARS, and nobody should deny this because we saw them.”