The Nigerian Army, disclosed, yesterday, how Deputy Superintendent of Police, Alkali Mohammed, of Mobile Police Unit 48 and his orderly, were beheaded “by suspected political thugs” during the legislative rerun election in Rivers State, at the weekend. The Sun newspaper reported.
Also, four personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were killed and their weapons carted away.
This was even as the army denied allegations of ballot box snatching, illegal escort of politicians, arrest, killing and detention of voters during the rerun election, levelled against its soldiers, saying those accusing them of being partisan did so to garner public sympathy and tarnish its reputation.
The army also said, as a respected institution with constitutional responsibility to safeguard lives and property, it would not fold its hands to watch miscreants and hoodlums abducting, maiming and killing innocent citizens, especially uniform personnel.
General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Kasimu Abdulkarim said this in a statement, yesterday.
Abdulkarim also said soldiers from his division provided what he described as ‘perimeter defence,’ to ward off hoodlums and miscreants and could not have been involved in ballot box-snatching and escorting of politicians, as alleged.
Abdulkarim said soldiers acted swiftly in response to security breaches to enforce the law, provide aid to the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in places like Abonema, Etche, Gokhana, Ikwere, Eleme, Tai, Khana and Omoku that were marred with violence.
He said with the barbarism displayed by some electorate and hoodlums, soldiers acted with civility and professionally to ensure a peaceful and crisis free election.
“In Gokhana, armed hoodlums engaged the soldiers providing outer perimeter defence for the electorate.
“In Abonema, at 0730 hours, there were three explosions that created bedlam. Subsequently, 11 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members were abducted along with electoral materials.
“However, 10 of them were rescued two hours later by the soldiers while one was rescued about eight hours after.
“At Emouha, Mr. Oblewaremu abducted five NYSC members with election materials in a Siena bus. The corps members were rescued while the suspect was handed over to the police.
“Several shooting were recorded in some communities such as Bodo, the home town of the Secretary to the State Government, B-dere and Mogho in Gokhana Local Government Area, including snatching of ballot boxes.
“The most brutal incidence occurred at Ujju community near Omoku in Onelga where police patrol team was ambushed. In the ambush, 10 policemen scampered into the bush.
“The mobile police organised a rescue mission. Regrettably, the team discovered that DSP Alkali Mohammed of Mobile Police Unit 48 was beheaded along with his orderly.
“The patrol vehicle was taken away with weapons, three policemen escaped while five were missing in action. This was the same area where soldiers of 34 Brigade were ambushed on November 20, where a soldier was killed.
“Also, on November 21, four personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were killed and their weapons carted away,” Abdulkarim said in the statement.
In a related development, Governor Nyesom Wike has accused soldiers and policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of killing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agents and hijacked electoral materials.
Wike also alleged that security agents worked for a particular candidate in Rivers South-East senatorial district.
The governor claimed soldiers shot sporadically to scare people away, before snatching ballot boxes and expressed shock that the Nigerian Army, which earlier assured him of being neutral during the elections, could involve itself in ballot snatching.
Governor Wike, however, expressed hope that “the will of the people of Rivers state will prevail, despite the role of security agencies.”
He also narrated how soldiers and police were shooting in Khana, Gokana, Akuku-Toru and Etche local government areas, alleging further that they were deployed to the state to manipulate election’s results in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“True to the claim by APC governors and leaders, that they will use federal might against Rivers people, the military has been used to rig the rerun elections in parts of the state.”
Reacting to the allegations, APC, through its state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chirs Finebone, denied the party connived with soldiers to rig the election.
Also, Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, denied the police’s involvement in ballot box snatching.
He said police officers, deployed to the state to provide security before, during and after the elections, performed their duties creditably well.
PDP won Rivers East, Rivers West –Wike
Yesterday night, Wike insisted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election in Rivers East and Rivers West senatorial districts and called on the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) to release the results.
He said based on results from the polling units, candidates of the PDP won both elections.
Wike also called on INEC to immediately release the results of Andoni/Opobo-NkoroFederal Constituency and Andoni State Constituency, which he claimed was also won by the PDP.
Briefing newsmen yesterday, Wike said it had never happened in the history of elections in the state, that the declaration of the result of Rivers East exceeded 24 hours.
He alleged that the result of Rivers East is being withheld by INEC, the Army and the Police, in order to manipulate the results of Emohua and Ikwerre Local Government Areas.
“They are doing everything possible to rewrite the result of Emohua, to ensure that the APC wins.”
The governor said since the conclusion of voting, INEC played pranks and moved collation from Emohua to Port Harcourt to create room for rigging.
“Collation officers have refused to be compelled to declare false results…”
“As such, the collation officers have left and INEC has resorted to using her internal staff for the collation of results.
“Release Rivers East Senatorial District, where Senator George Sekibo has won clearly . Release Rivers West Senatorial District, where Senator Osinakachukwu Ideozu, has won clearly . INEC should release Andoni/ Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency, where Abiante has won and Andoni State Constituency, where Ikunyi Ibani has won clearly, “ he said.
He described as unfortunate, the deliberate use of the Nigerian Army to deny PDP agents access to collation centres so that INEC staff could concoct results.
“It is most unfortunate that they will descend to the level of winning at all costs”, he said .
“When the security is apolitical , you have free and fair elections . But when the security descends into the arena, the entire process is compromised”, the governor noted.