The Nigerian Army has blamed Governor Nyesom Wike for causing the killing of three soldiers in River State during the 2019 general elections.
Security men attached to the governor were accused of shooting at soldiers stationed at the collation centre in the Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State during the 2019 elections, leaving three of them dead and one injured.
The General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham, made the allegation when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee investigating the alleged killing of employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Dr Ferry Gberegbe and Mrs Ibisaki Amachree, during the elections.
The House had on April 11, 2019, resolved to carry out the probe following the adoption of a motion by Mr Kingsley Chinda, blaming the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Army for the killing of Gberegbe and 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.
He said, “The soldiers who were at the outer cordon are supposed to stop anybody coming to either harm the voters or disrupt the polling (exercise). So, when Kurumi tried to enforce that, unknown to him, there were other people with different agenda and they snuffed life out of him.
“At the outer cordon three soldiers lost their lives. May be since you didn’t refer to it, Lieutenant Salami currently is on life support at Cedar Crest. No less person than the Executive Governor of Rivers State led a convoy of more than 40 vehicles to attack a collation centre and shot at Salami, manhandled Corporal Abiodun; these you can verify. That was at the Obio Akpor Local Government Area, at the collation centre there. We have laid this complaint to the police and it is well-documented. The Commissioner of Police is here and, he can testify to it.”
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.
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 2019 election.
“So, arrest or whatsoever, anytime it was made, the suspects were usually transferred to the civil police.”
The hearing, however, 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.”
But the GOC said, “Nobody was arrested apart from the people who were directly responsible for the killing of Lieutenant Kurumi. There were actually people in Rivers State who were responsible for the killing of an officer and three soldiers during that election.”
Killing of Sound Engineer: Sanwo-Olu Bans OKada Operation in Lagos
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has placed an indefinite ban on commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada operations across six Local Governments after a sound engineer, David Imoh, was allegedly lynched and burnt to death over N100 in Lekki axis of the state.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the Lagos Police Command and other security agencies have been placed on the alert to commence enforcement of the ban beginning from June 1, 2022.
The six local governments where their operations were outlawed by the governor include: Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa axis of the state.
Sanwo-Olu, who described Imoh’s death as unfortunate, stated that the ban was to ensure that such incident would not repeat itself and that it was in the best interest of Lagosians.
The governor, who gave the order to all Divisional Police Officer (DPOs) and Area Commanders across the State on Wednesday, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, noted that other security agencies would join in the enforcement of the order in all areas indicated.
Earlier before the ban, the Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, CSP Shola Jejeloye was said to have stormed the Lekki axis in a sting operation where 123 motorcycles were seized for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the State’s Highways.
Jejeloye emphasized that as part of the agency’s effort to clamp down on uncooperative and killer okada operators in the state, it would continue with its mob up exercise to rid Lekki axis and the entire State of unscrupulous Okada operators who have refused to heed the sound of warning and carried on with their illegal operations.
“This operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the State, and we will make sure that their activities are truncated till they abide by the rules. They will never be above the law no matter how large their numbers are” he said.
The chairman further urged residents of the state to join efforts with the Government in ensuring that the fight to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos Roads is won collectively in order to improve security.
FG Amends Charges Against Nnamdi Kanu, Indicts Lawyers
The Federal Government has once again amended the charges against the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
A counsel for the IPOB leader, who made this known also said the Federal Government listed some lawyers representing Nnamdi Kanu as accomplices of the defendant.
Among the lawyers said to be indicted by the Federal Government are Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara.
The IPOB legal team member said the government claimed that the indicted lawyers were constantly in contact with Nnamdi Kanu after he allegedly jumped bail and fled the country.
Nnamdi Kanu, who is at the Federal High Court, Abuja, is expected to be re-arraigned on the fresh charges.
Presidency Blasts Northern Elders Forum, Describes Body As ‘So-Called’
The presidency, on Tuesday, slammed the Northern Elders Forum for what it called “delusional arrogance” over its call for some sections of the country to secede, referring the forum as ‘so-called’
According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency insisted that only democratically elected leaders can take decisions that steer the nation, and no one else.
The statement was titled “Statement on the call by ‘Northern Elders Forum’ asking a section of the country to leave the federation.”
It read in part, “We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called ‘Northern Elders Forum.’
“We wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation–and no one else.
“No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they might enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.
“It is a delusional arrogance that would lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of our nation.
“Who gave them the right to ask for the exclusion, or expulsion of any one, group or section of the country from the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”
The presidency noted that the Nigerian government does not take guidance or invitations from such groups–only from the Nigerian people who put governments in office.
It said while any group can refer to itself as “leaders”, the government will not recognise it as such “if you have not been elected by Nigerians to a leadership role.”
The statement further noted that like many other countries around the world, Nigeria is feeling the strain of the current period of volatility and uncertainty.
Therefore, “Now is not the time to seek to exacerbate divisions amongst Nigerians. Rather, we call on all Nigerians to come together and work to overcome the challenges we face as one nation, one people.”