A lecturer with the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic and three others sustained gunshot injuries after soldiers and operatives of the Federal Special Anti- Robbery Squad (F-SARS) stormed an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation centre in Bori in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday.
Also shot was Marvin Lezor Keawe-e, Raymond Ledogo and another person who were said to have been rushed to the hospital. According to eyewitnesses, the joint security team also hijacked electoral materials after the shooting before zooming off in their security vans.
Soldiers and policemen deployed to the Rivers State headquarters of INEC in Port Harcourt clashed yesterday over the manning of the gate. There has been heavy presence of security operatives at the INEC headquarters since the general elections commenced more than two weeks ago, with soldiers and policemen sometimes collaborating to prevent unwanted persons from entering the premises.
But as expectations heightened yesterday over the delay in the announcement of the governorship and House of Assembly elections result, a disagreement over the manning of the gate turned into pushing and shoving among the two security outfits. In the very brief drama that ensued, the situation turned chaotic as soldiers and policemen that were within and outside the INEC premises moved to the gate to support their colleagues in the battle for domination. About 200 metres from the centre of commotion, policemen and soldiers were manning the two ends of Aba Road, which had been cordoned off with an armoured tank and a trailer that completely prevented motorists and pedestrians from passing the Waterlines and GRA ends of Aba Road. At both ends of the cordoned part of Aba Road, soldiers in hood and red armband, and SARS operatives patrolled the road. Reacting to the attack, the chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Felix Obuah, alleged that F-SARS commander in the state, Mr. Akin Fakorede, led the SARS team to the area and should be held responsible for the invasion.
Obuah said in a statement signed by Jerry Needam, his media coordinator, that: “While calling for the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Akin Fakorede, the PDP appeals to the Inspector General of Police, Chief of Army Staff as well as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Six Division of the Nigerian Army to, as a matter of urgency, reprimand all police officers involved in the shooting incident and hijack of electoral materials.”
In a related development, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has alleged that INEC has connived with the Nigerian Army and the Federal SARS to announce what he described as “concocted” result of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Wike, who addressed reporters at the Government House in Port Harcourt, equally claimed that men of the Nigeria Police and Army were aiding INEC to “to subvert the will of Rivers people by declaring concocted results for the Rivers State governorship election.” The governor alleged that some soldiers and SARS personnel stormed collation centres in the state and hijacked already collated results in order to “mutilate the results to the advantage of a political party.” Wike said: “They have stopped PDP agents from gaining entrance into the collation centre at Aba Road. Movement has been restricted and free access given to APC leaders. “Members of the PDP have been expelled from the collation centre. They want to deny the people of Rivers State their choice. “Collated materials have been hijacked and some already announced results will suffer mutilation. If this continues, the will of Rivers people will be tainted.”