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Rivers Re-run: Wike, APC Bicker Over Controversial Audio Recording

Rivers State Government and All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, bickered over killings and controversial audio recording purportedly of governor Nyesom Wike threatening staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the December 10 re-run elections.

Rivers re-run: Wike, APC bicker over controversial audio recording
Nyesom Wike

While Rivers State Government dismissed as cheap blackmail, the recorded voice purportedly of governor Nyesom Wike threatening staff of INEC, the APC claimed the leaked audio recording had allegedly confirmed the fears raised by the party ahead of the legislative re-run elections in the state.

On its part, the Police hierarchy, told Governor Wike that the Nigeria Police was not a vigilante component of any state that could be controlled by state governments.

The Rivers State Government, speaking through the Commissioner for Information, Dr Austin Tam George, said it was an audio impersonation of the governor allegedly by the opposition APC in connivance with an online medium.

He said: “We categorically deny these latest allegations as a sick fabrication, an outright lie. Governor Wike never made any contact with INEC officials in person or by telephone. It is the online propaganda bullhorn of APC. Their publications are typically false and the writers are professional hawkers of fiction. No one would have thought that the APC and its media allies would resort to an audio impersonation of Governor Wike, using a voice changer technology

“The voice changer technology is often used by teenagers mainly in South Korea and Japan to launch innocent technological pranks at each other, mainly for laughs.The APC and the online medium are inmates in the prison of their own lies. We reject the latest blackmail by the APC.“

APC reacts

But reacting, APC through its Spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi in a statement said: “Going by the revelations from the leaked audio recordings, it is obvious that Governor Wike may have engaged in unwholesome conducts that might have compromised the integrity of the electoral process and undermined his office as the Chief Security Officer of a state. The only logical conclusion from this, therefore, is that the electoral victories of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may have been achieved through underhand dealings and intimidation of officials.”

APC recalled that on December 6, 2016, it had alerted security agencies on reports of alleged massive arms build-up and other sinister plots that Wike and the PDP planned to execute on the day of the legislative rerun elections in Rivers State.

“Nigerians have watched with grave concern how the process of the just concluded legislative rerun election has led to the death of ordinary citizens in the state including security officers. The statement that Governor Wike appeared to have made on record has now pointed directly at where responsibility should be placed for the violence that attended the election. It is also evident that the allegations by the Rivers State government and the PDP of an assassination threat on Wike and the allegation by Wike that APC Governors funded violence in the state during the election might have been deliberately contrived to cover-up the role that the Governor had played in the violence that attended the election.

The APC condemns any form of violence as it relates to elections or any other matter. In this instance, we urge security agencies to do the needful and ensure that sponsors and perpetrators of violence, no matter how highly placed, are brought to justice.”

Similarly, Rivers APC, said the governor had been caught pants down, saying there was no way he could wriggle out of it.

Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Mr. Chris Finebone, said it was usual for the governor to allege blackmail because that was how people caught in such situations responded in time past.

According to him: “Having been caught in the web of their own machinations, what do you expect Governor Nyesom Wike and his Commissioner to say? Often when anyone is caught pants down, the most convenient and ready response is to blame and blackmail others. The truth remains that Governor Wike in that Saharareporters’ audio tape was caught pants down and he simply cannot find where to hide.

It is important to state that the APC have severally in the past been brought under scrutiny by Saharareporters to the amusement of Wike and the PDP but today they have found it convenient to associate the APC with Saharareporters. That is absolute falsehood coming from an absolutely cornered man.

“Governor Wike should think of a better response which we doubt he has because the audio recording is clear to everyone that it is the voice of the governor threatening to kill people – a threat that doesn’t come to us as a surprise. Our only surprise is that after nearly two years in office, Gov Wike is still struggling with the indecorum of a street hustler. About this audio that has gone viral across the world via the Internet, Gov Wike should deal with it and stop rambling about.”

Meanwhile, a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Don Awunah said: “The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, as the number one law enforcement officer in the country and putting into cognizance his national and international exposure, has tremendous respect for the office of the governor of any state and by extension the occupants of this office.

Arising from the aftermath of the conclusive re-run parliamentary election in Rivers State, novel in the political history of the state, the police have received unprecedented verbal attacks from highly placed political office holders in the media, conventional and social.

Wike marching to the Rivers State Police Command to protest police brutality and killings in Port Harcourt
R-L: Deputy Governor Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Speaker Dabo Adams and Former Minister of Transport, DrAbiye Sekibo with other Rivers people marching to the Rivers State Police Command to protest police brutality and killings in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

It is, however, pertinent to set the records straight vis à vis recent unfair and undeserved attacks, condemnation and diatribes against the police by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in the conventional media and especially the social media arising from the recently concluded December 10 re-run parliamentary elections in the state, an election comparatively adjudged to be free, credible and fair from policing perspective by major stakeholders.

“The Nigeria Police is not a vigilante component of any state. The police are law enforcement officers who are sworn to oaths of office, allegiance and secrecy which they hold sacrosanct. Police officers, particularly during the election in view, put in their best in ensuring a hitch-free exercise.

As is widely known, a DSP paid the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty in Rivers State.

Considering all these, it is very unfair, insensitive and uncharitable to cast aspersions on the name of the police in order to score cheap political points. The Police must be insulated from politics. The era of political police officer is gone and the apolitical nature of policing must be sustained and strengthened.

“The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, officers who the governor kept referring to in his diatribes against the police were indeed at the scene to arrest hoodlums who were there to cart away ballot papers.

“The video clips trending in the media are obviously skewed and doctored to suit predetermined political agenda.”

Killers of DSP Mohammed Alkali arrested — Police

Mean time, the high powered investigation team set up by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and saddled with the responsibility of investigating the circumstances surrounding the gruesome murder of DSP Mohammed Alkali in Rivers State during the re-run election has made a major breakthrough with the arrest of some principal suspects.

A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, DSP Don Awunah, gave the names of the suspects as Noble Nwaerema, Dike Deinpiribo, Valentine Alalibo, Onwunari J. Warmate, and Iloke Stephen.

Awunah said: “Upon further interrogation of the suspects, it was discovered that they were active members of the group that gruesomely murdered DSP Alkali Mohammed in cold blood on December 10, 2016, in Rivers State. This vicious gang doubled as political thugs who were part of the group recruited by politicians from Rivers and neighboring states to scuttle the December 10, 2016 re-run parliamentary election.

“The suspects have confessed to the crime and are cooperating with the Police to recover the severed part of the slain officer. Investigation is on top gear to rescue the missing orderly to the murdered officer and recover the police vehicle that was snatched during the incident.

“The suspects were also found out to be linked to the leader of a major political party in the state. The Inspector General of Police is hereby soliciting for information, support and cooperation of the good people of Rivers State in apprehending the remaining members of the gang who are more likely to cause further harm to security personnel and innocent citizens. However, the Nigeria Police Force is determined to ensure that gangsterism, cultism and sposored political assassinations become a thing of the past in Rivers State and Nigeria at large.”

Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday led his deputy, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Banigo and hundreds of his loyalists on a peaceful protest to the Police headquarters on Moscow Road in Port Harcourt demanding redeployment of two Police officers in the state Police command for allegedly behind killings in the recent rerun elections in the state.

Commissioners and notable leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state were among those that joined the governor in the protest.

The Governor during the protest at the Police headquarters, said the protest was to demand the immediate redeployment of the two senior officers, saying: “On behalf of the Rivers State Government and the good people of the state, we have come to let the police know that enough is enough. We demand that the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, must leave the state. Since you don’t want to protect the state and you want to be politicians, you have got the votes you want to get, you have also got the seats you want to get, you can now leave the state.”

“If they don’t leave the state, then we will do all we can to ensure they leave this state. They must leave this state. They have killed innocent people. We have come here peacefully, to communicate this to your superiors in Abuja. I cannot write again, since I have done that repeatedly. Please, I don’t want my people to die anymore. I don’t want armed robbers posted as senior police officers to Rivers State.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Cyril Okoro told the governor that his message would be forwarded to the highest command of the Police.

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