Rivers Re-run: Army Denies Allegations Of Favouritism, Rescues 16 Kidnapped Corps Members
The Nigerian Army has denied allegations of favouritism in in Saturday's re-run election in Rivers insisting that the troops only acted to prevent security breach.
Nyesom Wike, Governor of the state, and other leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had accused security operatives of collaborating with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the election.
However, Kasimu Abdulkarim, General Officer Commanding of the 6 division of the Army, insisted that those behind the reports of partisanship were bent on tarnishing the image of the army revealing that the soldiers rescued 16 abducted corps members and some policemen who were ambushed.
“They acted swiftly in response to security breaches in order to enforce the law, provide aid to the police and other security agencies especially in areas like Abonema, Etche, Gokhana, Ikwere, Eleme, Tai, Khana and Omoku amongst others,” Abdulkarim said in a statement.
“Susceptibility of mentioned areas warranted providing security for the electoral officials, voters, international and local observers, in conjunction with other security agencies by soldiers for a peaceful election to thrive in the environment.
“In Gokhana, armed hoodlums engaged the soldiers providing outer perimeter defence for the electorate.
“In Abonema there were three explosions that created bedlam. Subsequently, 11 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 later.
“At Emouha five NYSC members were abducted 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, 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.
“These attacks are reasonable evidence of violations of breach of law and order which portray the area as a flash point.
“In spite these barbarism, soldiers acted with civility and professionalism in guaranteeing peaceful election.
“Some people allegedly accused soldiers of ballot box snatching, illegal escorts of some politicians, arrest and detention of voters during the general conduct of the elections.
“The weighty nature of these allegations could cause members of the public to view soldiers negatively, hence the need to adequately inform the general public on the true perspective. The public thus need to consider them as mere farce to garner public sympathy.”
Story by Oputah David