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Rivers APC arming thugs to disrupt LG elections — Wike

Chukwudi Akasike

AHEAD of this Saturday’s local government elections in Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike, says that intelligence at the state government’s disposal indicates that a faction of the All Progressives Congress in the state is arming political thugs to disrupt the June 16, 2018 exercise.

Wike, who spoke during a state broadcast on Thursday, specifically explained that the APC faction planned to disrupt the elections in Abua/Odual, Akuku Toru, Asari Toru, Degema, Emohua, Ikwerre, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Opobo and Tai local government areas.

The governor named three chieftains of the main opposition party in the state as those behind the alleged recruitment and arming of political thugs to be deployed in the aforementioned areas to create an atmosphere of insecurity.

The governor said, “The arrowheads of this satanic plot, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree; a former Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Chinda; and current Nigeria’s Ambassador to Netherlands, Ambassador Orji N. Ngofa, are recruiting and arming political thugs with guns to be deployed on the eve of the election to create an atmosphere of insecurity in these and other local government areas and scare voters to shun the polling stations.

“In the light of the these dangerous threats from Ojukaye and co-travellers, therefore, I wish to call on the security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police to live up to their primary responsibility of providing adequate security for the election and deal decisively with those who may attempt to disturb the peace, order and security of the state before, during and after the election.”

He said that the state government had received concrete assurances from the heads of all the security agencies that they had put adequate measures to secure the peace and ensure orderly conduct of the election.

He noted that the Rivers State Government would hold the security agencies accountable should insecurity be experienced in the state in the course of the elections.

Wike added, “Community leaders and members of the public should be on the watch-out and report suspicious characters and movements in their localities and neighbourhoods to the law enforcement agencies for immediate action.

“Also, the security agencies have definite instructions to strictly enforce the restrictions on human and vehicular movement on Election Day and arrest any person or group of persons that violate this order.

The governor stated that there was no legal obstacle stopping the conduct of the elections.

“Let me, therefore, appeal to all registered voters to turn out in their numbers to vote for the candidates of their choice. This is a civic responsibility you must exercise in order to rekindle the torch of democracy, good governance and accountability in the local government system.”

But the state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Finebone, has denied the allegation, adding that the party had no stake in Saturday’s council polls.

He said, “It is absolutely important to quickly mention that the APC, its leaders and members across Rivers State, have no stake in the sham local council elections and have no reason at all to consider or disrupt a process we have clearly distanced ourselves from and made such position known to the world.”

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