Rivers rerun: Police confirm four dead, Peterside makes assassination allegation

The Nigeria Police have confirmed that four people were killed during the rerun elections in Rivers State on Saturday.

Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone Six, Calabar, Adisa Bolanta, said four deaths were recorded while 22 persons were arrested during the elections.

Mr. Bolanta disclosed this on Sunday at a joint security news conference in Port Harcourt.

He said the suspects were being interrogated on allegations of criminal or electoral offences.

He said deployments made by the police assisted in reducing election-related offences.

Also, the Commander of 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Brigadier General Stephenson Olabanji, confirmed the arrest of the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Kenneth Kobani.

Also confirmed to have been arrested is a Special Assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike, Cyril Nwite.

Olabanji said both men were arrested in Gokana and Khana Local Government Area on Saturday for allegedly committing electoral offences.

“Many people were arrested yesterday for disrupting the electoral process and the law is not meant for just the lower cadre alone.

“No matter who you are, if you go against the law, you will definitely face the music.

“So, there is nothing like being Secretary to the State Government; many people were arrested as you have been told; a lot of people were arrested,” he said.

Olabanji denied claims by the state government that some commissioners and other top officials were manhandled by the Army during the rerun elections.

At a separate event, Governor Nyesom Wike said the Peoples Democratic Party, would win Saturday’s rerun legislative elections in the state because it prepared for it.

Wike told journalists in Port Harcourt that when the elections of the legislators were annulled in December, the party commenced preparations for re-run.

He said that the party began campaigns and started working hard to win the elections because it was on ground.

The governor confirmed that Kobani and Nwite were arrested by the Army.

Wike said the government officials wanted to ensure that election materials were moved to polling units when they were arrested. He said it would be difficult to rig elections in the state because the people would resist the attempt.

According to him, when somebody is not popular and attempts to rig the election, the people will say no to such move.

He alleged that some people were creating problems to make the Federal Government declare a state of emergency in the state.

Wike said that such ploy would not work, because the PDP was more popular in the state.

He urged the media not to be emotional or sentimental while reporting events in the state, because such stories create wrong impression.

Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) narrowly escaped death Saturday afternoon after his vehicle was attacked by gunmen in two utility vehicles on his way from the Port Harcourt International Airport, his spokesperson, Sylvester Asoya, has said.

Asoya said Peterside was in his car with Davies Ikanya, chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, and H.O. Asita, Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC in the April 2015 election when the incident occurred.

The officials said they escaped the assassins’ bullets by a stroke of luck.

“Two Jeeps belonging to Emeka Woke, Nyesom Wike’s Chief of Staff carrying two unknown gunmen trailed us to UTC Junction and opened fire on my car. Our car however did a detour to first Aba road then old GRA with the two jeeps still trailing us. We drove to the DSS office to seek refuge and on getting to the gate the unknown gunmen opened fire again at the SSS men on guard.

“The exchange of fire between the DSS men and the assailants lasted for more than 30 minutes. In course of exchange of fire my Police detail Cpl Emma Esi was shot at and seriously injured. This is a very ugly experience but I thank God that my colleagues and I escaped unhurt”.

“When the DSS men demobilized the two jeeps we found out that the man at the back of the car who was identifying us to the assailants is Wike’s Chief of staff , Emeka Woke . He has been arrested by the DSS.

“Today’s experience is not only terrifying but also shows the parlous state of security in Rivers State. If I can be engaged openly by gunmen for nearly an hour in the heart of Port Harcourt, only God knows the fate that will befall members of our party and those sympathetic to our predicament. What is happening today in our dear state is not only horrible but also constitutes serious national security risk,” Asoya said.

The aide quoted Peterside, who was Wike’s opponent in last year’s governorship election in Rivers, as saying it was now evident that the governor wanted to kill him and that he was prepared to do everything possible to eliminate him.