Rivers government alleges plot to kill Wike as police withdraw CSO
• Security agency explains action
• PDP flays Ganduje’s comment on poll
Rivers State government has expressed fear that Governor Nyesom Wike might have been marked for assassination following the sudden removal of his chief security officer yesterday.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Odesanya had said the command would withdraw police orderlies attached to politicians in the state during the forthcoming elections to prevent the security operatives from going close to the polling units with guns and ammunition.
Wike castigated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for allegedly overheating the polity by its actions.
The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George claimed the governor’s chief security officer was withdrawn after a television interview in which Wike had allegedly blamed security agencies for launching a campaign of persecution against officials of the state government.
“We are concerned that the governor of a state will not be consulted before the removal of his chief security officer. This is an ominous sign that the governor’s life is in great danger.”
Tams-George said the Rivers people would not sit idly by and watch security agencies perpetrate unlawful acts in the state. He reiterated Governor Wike’s directive to all government officials to resist any politically motivated arrest throughout the period of the re-run elections scheduled to hold on December 10, 2016.
Tams-George urged the people to resist by all legitimate means the alleged attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to steal the sovereign right of the people to freely choose their own leaders.
Wike had in the televised interview in Port Harcourt claimed that several actions of the electoral body “connote that it is working for a specific political interest and political party.”
The governor said all his public statements against INEC and the police were backed by “incontrovertible” facts and intelligence in his possession.
Wike claimed to have written the Inspector General of Police five letters that an assistant commissioner of police, and a police commander had threatened to kill him, but has not replied any of his letters.
The governor further confirmed that the Police High Command has withdrawn 200 out of the 250 policemen posted to the Government House, Port Harcourt. “There is an agenda against the Rivers State. I have to defend my people. I have to protect my people.”
The Commissioner of Police, Odesanya has given assurance that the security personnel that would be deployed during the election would thwart attempts by political thugs to carry out their nefarious activities.
At a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Police Officers Mess in Port Harcourt, Odesanya said all police orderlies attached to politicians in the state would be withdrawn during the election. According to him, the command remains neutral and would ensure a level playing ground for all the political parties.
“Police will be deployed massively; the whole state would be very covered. If you have in mind to sew materials for political thugs, we will take you by surprise,” he said.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Aniedi Ikiowak said the commission would begin distribution of sensitive materials for the elections on Thursday. According to him, the training of ad-hoc staff to be used for the election has been concluded.
“We have concluded the training of the ad hoc staff to be used for the election apart from the collation officers to be used. Politicians have combed all the universities in the country to find out who the collation officers are.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as “unfortunate and ridiculous” the statement allegedly credited to the Governor of Kano State and Chairman of the APC Rivers State Re-Run Election Campaign Committee, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje that having a free and fair election in Rivers State was abnormal.
The governor was alleged to have further said that free and fair elections in the South-South region of the country was abnormal.
The opposition party noted that the comments of the governor were insulting, and therefore he should tender an unreserved apology to all concerned.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said that the comments of the governor were a pointer to the plans of the APC to rig the election and be declared the winner at all cost.
“This statement coming from the governor is not only unfortunate, it is ridiculous and absurd to say the least. It is highly unbecoming of a governor to make such an unguided statement that denigrates the people of the whole state and the South-South region in general.
“The statement is also a veil threat that the coming election in Rivers State will be manipulated as usual by the APC using the INEC and the security apparatus of state.”