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Bye-election: Police’ve declared war on Rivers, says Wike

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RIVERS State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said the consistency with which the police interfered with the electoral process in the state was a declaration of war on the people.

This is just as a presidential hopeful of the People Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Sunday, asked the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to stop the continuous harassment of Wike in the name of politicking.

Wike, who spoke during a state broadcast on Sunday, described Saturday’s House of Assembly bye-election for Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 as a failed exercise due to the disruption by the police and armed thugs.

The governor insisted that the armed thugs were working for the All Progressives Congress in the state, calling on Rivers people not to succumb to the antics of the police, lest they become slaves in their fatherland.

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“The consistent sabotage of the electoral process by the police amounts to a declaration of war against the people of Rivers State and their solemn rights to freely and fairly choose their leaders and representatives,” he said.

Wike said despite assurances from the Rivers State Commissioner of Police during the last State Security Council meeting that the police would remain neutral and act professionally, the police on Saturday, August 18, 2018, joined forces with the APC thugs to disrupt the election.

He stated, “Instead of providing security for voters and INEC officials, the police brazenly colluded with political thugs of the APC to subvert the democratic process and denied the people of Port Harcourt Constituency 3 their rights to free, fair and credible elections.

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“It is important to note that Ojukaye Amachree, who led the thugs, is the same person facing multiple murder trial and instead of arresting him as ordered by the trial court, the police have continued to aid and shield him from arrest and prosecution.”

Wike recalled that the June 16, 2018 local government election, which the APC failed to participate, was conducted peacefully without rancour and added that it was not the first time the police would be indicted during an election in the state.

He pointed out that following the widespread violence that erupted in the 2016 legislative re-run election in Rivers State, the INEC Panel Report (at page 66) indicted the security agencies as “brazen election riggers” and singled out the F-SARS Commander, Mr Akin Fakorede, as the arrowhead of the violence and rigging that characterised those elections.

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Meanwhile, Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State and presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, claimed that Wike remained the most intimidated state governor in the country, noting that the deployment of federal might to harass him (Wike) must stop henceforth.

The former lawmaker was reacting to the suspended Rivers State bye-election for Port Harcourt Constituency 3 in the Rivers State House of Assembly, which was marred by violence on August 18, 2019, forcing the INEC to put a halt to the poll.

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