Election Violence: Over 70 Youths Arrested In Abonnema, Says Annkio Briggs

 

Niger Delta activist and an indigene of Abonnema, Rivers State, Annkio Briggs, says over 70 youths have been arrested following the violence that took place in Abonema, Rivers State on Saturday.

The youths were said to have been arrested by the army who claimed they were thugs.

Beyond the arrests, Briggs said several people were killed on Saturday after the town was invaded by political thugs as well as the Nigerian Army.

This, according to her, prevented residents from exercising their civic responsibility.

“By this action, my people were disenfranchised from voting and my people were killed.

“Yesterday night, through till this afternoon, Abonema has been under lockdown.

“Over 70 youths have been arrested from Abonnema”, she said in an interview with Channels Television.

Read Also: Gunmen Reportedly Kill Ex-LG Chairman, Three Others In Rivers State

Speaking further, she alleged that people were prevented from worshipping as they were “pulled out of churches” on Sunday morning and sent home.

“This is an act of violence, an abuse of human rights against my people, for merely wanting to exercise their civic duties.

“Abonema is not at war with the Nigerian Government,” Briggs said.

Police Confirm Killing Of Soldier In Rivers Violence

Rivers APC Crisis: We Are Only Demanding A Right To Compete, Says Party  

 

The Rivers State Police command has confirmed the killing of a soldier at Abonema in Akuku Toru Local Government Area, which was turned into a theatre of war on Saturday between hoodlums and soldiers as they engaged in gun battle.

The command’s spokesperson, Nnamdi Omoni, said several other people sustained gunshot wounds.

Although he said that the police had no record of civilian casualties, some party members told Channels Television that more people were killed in the encounter.

READ ALSO: Police Confirm Killing Of Voter In Kogi

The Commissioner of Information in the state, Emma Okah, also said some of their party members could have been killed in the violence.

The army has also confirmed the shootings in Abonema but gave no casualty figures.

According to the Assistant Director of Public Affairs, 6 Division Nigerian Army Colonel Aminu Illiasu, there was a shootout between suspected hoodlums, who allegedly were trying to disrupt the electoral process.

He also said the incident confirmed their earlier statement that some persons were planning to unleash violence and disrupt the elections.

Collation Of Results Ongoing In Rivers Legislative Rerun

Rivers RerunCollation of results is ongoing at various federal and state collation centers for the national and state assembly elections in Rivers State.

Elections are also expected to be concluded in Akuku Toru Local Government Area (LGA) of the state in south-south Nigeria.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had released an interim statement rescheduling the conclusion of the rerun election in 14 units spread across wards 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in Akuku Toru LGA for Sunday from 12 noon.

INEC said it was taking stock of the situation in other local government areas where collation was underway.

Meanwhile, the fall out of the election has triggered reactions from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

INEC

While the PDP claimed that the APC in connivance with the military and the police were obstructing the process in their favour, the APC maintained that the presence of the military brought the excesses of many politicians under control.

The PDP spokesman in Rivers State, Samuel Nwanosike, had also alleged that the military and INEC were obstructing the process in Ikwere, Emohua and Andoni LGAs of the state.

In his reaction, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim, denied allegations of intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes and killings leveled against the military during the re-run elections.

Rivers Rerun: Army Denies Allegations Of Electoral Misconduct

General Abdulkarim said the claims were not only false, but a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army and wipe public sentiment.

He noted that although the soldiers provided perimeter defence to ward off armed hoodlums and miscreants, the military remained apolitical.

Rivers Rerun: Army Denies Allegations Of Electoral Misconduct

Rivers Rerun: Army Denies Allegations Of Electoral MisconductThe Nigerian Army has denied allegations of intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes and killings leveled against it during the Rivers state re-run elections which took place on Saturday.

The General Officer Commanding 6 division, Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim, said the alleged killing and mass arrest by soldiers in Tai and Gokana local government areas of the state were not only false but a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the army as well as wipe public sentiment.

The GOC who spoke in the early hours of Sunday, noted that although his soldiers provided perimeter defense to ward off armed hoodlums and miscreants, the Nigerian Army remained apolitical.

The Major General said there were three explosions in Bedlam in Abonema, five NYSC members were abducted and rescued while two police officers were killed, among which was a senior officer who was beheaded.

According to him, “Nigerian army troops were in no way involved in the escort of politicians as alleged.

“They acted swiftly in response to security breaches in order to enforce the law, provide aid to the Nigerian police and other security agencies especially in areas like Abonema, Etche, Gokana, Ikwere, Eleme, Tai, Khana and Omoku amongst others.

“Susceptibility of mentioned areas warranted providing security for the electoral officials, voters, international and local observers, in conjunction with other security agencies by soldiers for a peaceful election to thrive in the environment.

“These areas were rift with armed men who engaged security personnel. In gokana, armed hoodlums engaged the soldiers providing outer perimeter defense for the electorates”

The GOC went further to explain that “at Emohua, Mr Oblewaremu abducted five NYSC members with election materials in a Siena bus. The corps members were later rescued and the suspect handed over to the police.

“Nigerian army as a respected institution with constitutional responsibilities to safeguard lives and property,” he stated.

Rivers Govt. Set To Rehabilitate Health Sector In State

Wike, RoadsThe State Executive Council has approved the immediate rehabilitation of all general hospitals, as part of efforts to improve the Health Sector in Rivers State.

This was stated at the 13th State Executive Council meeting presided over by the Executive Governor, Nyesom Wike at Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital.

According to the Commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George who spoke on behalf of the government, he said the Council has also approved the rehabilitation of the Government Secondary School in Ogu, Ogu Bolo Local Government Area.

He also stated that the governor has instructed that work should be done within a stipulated time.

The Commissioner said, “There is an immediate order for rehabilitation work to begin in all General Hospitals in the state.

“You will remember that at the celebration of the first year in office of this government, the governor promised that there will be massive investment in the health and educational sectors. Today, the Council has approved the immediate rehabilitation of all general hospitals in the state”.

“Some of them include, General Hospital Omoku, General Hospital Ija, General Hospital Abua Oduah, General Hospital Isiokpo, Abonema, Okrika, Bodo including the Government Secondary School in Ogu”

Rivers Rerun: INEC Suspends Elections In Six LGAs

INECINEC has suspended the legislative elections in six local government areas of Rivers State.

INEC’s decision, according to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Aniedi Ikoikwak, follows reported cases of violence and other hitches witnessed in some parts of the state including Andoni, Bonny, Gokana, Khana, Eleme and Tai local councils where the exercise has been suspended.

No date has been fixed for the rerun elections in the affected areas.

Meanwhile, voting has ended in the Rivers rerun election and counting has started in some polling units to determine the outcome of the election.

Rivers Rerun: Counting Begins In Some Polling Units

Rivers RerunVoting has ended in the Rivers rerun election.

Counting has started in some polling units to determine the outcome of the Rivers State election.

Channels TV correspondents covering the election report that while some parts of Rivers State have experienced relative peace, the situation in some appeared to have taken a violent dimension.

Earlier, our correspondent reported that in Asari Toru, Degema and Abonema in Rivers West senatorial district, the election went on smoothly, with security agents on the ground to keep the peace.

In Ikwere Local Government Area, however, there have been some skirmishes, with cases of stabbing reported. Shooting has also been reported in Abalama after security agents reportedly left the area.

Voting was said to have been stalled in Opobo Nkoro, Andoni and Bonny due to non-availability of sensitive materials such as result sheets.

Rivers Rerun: Unavailability Of Sensitive Materials Stalls Elections In Bonny, Opobo

Rivers RerunThe situation in the ongoing Rivers rerun election appears to be taking a violent dimension in some parts of Rivers State while others are experiencing relative peace.

Voting is said to have been stalled in Opobo Nkoro, Andoni and Bonny due to non-availability of sensitive materials such as result sheets.

Earlier, our correspondent reported that in Asari Toru, Degema and Abonema in Rivers West senatorial district, the election went on smoothly, with security agents on the ground to keep the peace.

In Ikwere Local Government Area, however, there have been some skirmishes, with cases of stabbing reported.

Shooting has also been reported in Abalama after security agents reportedly left the area.

Sensitive materials for the re-run polls had been delivered at the state headquarters of the INEC in Port Harcourt on Thursday with sorting and distribution also done at the different senatorial zones and constituencies in all 23 local government areas in the state.

INEC recruited the services of 24,930 adhoc staff, 379 collation officers and 37 returning officers for the Rivers rerun elections which is being conducted in compliance with the appeal tribunal which nullified the earlier polls.