By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT— Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, yesterday, lamented the loss of lives in Yeghe and Bori during the military invasion of communities in Khana and Gokhana Local Government Areas of the state on Monday and Tuesday.
The governor who paid a fact finding visit to the areas in the company of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Musa Kimo and other top security officers, said he was not informed by the military before they invaded the communities.
Meanwhile, a member of a robbery gang was shot dead, Wednesday night, during an exchange of fire between the gang and the Police in New GRA, Port Harcourt.
A statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ahmad Muhammad, said that the robbers were fleeing after raiding a new generation bank on Obagi Road, New GRA, when Police gave them a hot chase.
He said that in the ensuing gun battle, one of the robbers sustained gunshot wounds and was abandoned by his gang members.
He said that the robbers carted away an undisclosed sum of money at the bank.
Meanwhile, the Army last night, denied rumours in the state that its men pulled down the Port Harcourt residence of an ex-militant leader, Mr Solomon Ndigbara, aka Osama Bin Ladin.
Spokesman of 2 Brigade, Port Harcourt, Captain Lazarus Eli, told Vanguard that soldiers only sealed off the place for security reasons.
However, speaking during his visit to Yeghe and Bori, following the invasion of the communities by soldiers, Governor Wike accused some members of the opposition political parties in the state of trying to instigate crisis in the state to create an atmosphere for declaration of a state of emergency on the state.
He said that the government will investigate the circumstance that gave rise to the loss of lives during the military invasion of Yeghe and Bori communities.
He said: “Rivers State Government will take up this unfortunate incident with the appropriate authorities. The military must subject itself to civil authority. I am the chief security officer of this state. Before any deployment of soldiers, I should be informed, but in this case I was not put on notice.
“I will always support the security agencies in the fight against criminality, but I will never support the killing of innocent persons. That is why I am here today for an on-the-spot assessment. I have seen for myself the destruction in Yeghe and the killings that took place. I went to the mortuaries to see the corpses and the relatives of the deceased confirmed they were killed in the operations.
“I have told security agencies to be careful so that they are not misled by politicians. As the governor of the state, I have never used soldiers because I don’t need them. When I see people not in government moving around with soldiers, I am surprised. If you are popular with your people, you have no reason to move with soldiers.”
Wike urged the military to arrest criminals and hand them over to the Police for prosecution in line with the rules of engagement.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state has condemned the alleged campaign of calumny against Senator Magnus Abe and Mr Barri Mkpigi, over the recent military operations in Yeghe and Bori communities.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Chris Finebone, in a statement, accused the state government of allegedly using fronts to blackmail the APC over the military operation.