It’s untrue, Sarham replies
PORT HARCOURT—Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army , Major-General Jamil Sarham, has planned the arrest of 10 local council chairmen in a bid to scuttle the elections in the state.Meanwhile, reacting to the allegation, Major-General Sarham said it was untrue.
He said: “Such allegations can be liken to imaginations, which is unfounded. Going by the directive of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, the Nigerian Army and the 6th Division will remain apolitical and will follow rules of engagement to be neutral and ensure conducive atmosphere for all Nigerians to exercise their franchise, freely and unhindered, irrespective of the party they belong.”
Addressing journalists, yesterday, Wike said the intention of the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army was to generate insecurity and violence through undue provocation of the people.
Wike added that the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has also pencilled down 182 persons who will be arrested across the 23 local government areas of the state, who are members of his political party.
He said: “The GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has stated that he will arrest the Chairman of Ikwerre, Abua/Odual LGA, Mayor of Port Harcourt, Chairman of Bonny and Degema Local Government Area.
“Other chairmen to be arrested by the GOC include, Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru, Gokana, Khana and Eleme Local Government Areas.
“What offence have these council chairmen committed to warrant this illegal intimidation? If they committed any offences, were these offences committed within the election period? Why were they note arrested before now?
“These are the actions that will lead to crisis. Allow the people to vote freely and their votes must count. Rivers people must be allowed to vote.”
He said Rivers State is for Rivers people and security agencies will not be allowed to waste the lives of the people in the name of elections.
“If Major General Sarham has been promised the post of the Chief of Army Staff, it will not be at the expense of the lives of our people,” he said.
Wike expressed concern that the security agencies are misinterpreting the presidential directive on ballot box snatching.
He said the Nigerian Army and another security agency have seen the directive as a leeway to kill innocent people, even when the Army and Police are the real culprits.