Ekiti Election Saga: Indicted Army General Retired

Ekiti electionThe last is yet to be heard about the 2015 governorship election in Ekiti State, as one of the indicted officers, Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh has been retired.

Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Umar, confirmed to Channels Television on Monday that the Army officer was retired in line with the recommendation of the Army panel set up to look into allegation of professional misconduct against him in connection with the conduct of June 14, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State and the 2015 general elections.

A board of inquiry led by General Officer Commanding One Division of the Nigerian Army, led by Major General Adeniyi Oyebade indicted the senior officer and others recommending various degrees of sanctions for them.

Controversies have trailed the role of the military in the alleged rigging of the election since the emergence an audio said to have been recorded by a military officer who was at a meeting where election rigging plans were discussed.

The Nigerian Army then set up the Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate the alleged malpractices and involvement of its personnel in the Ekiti and Osun States’ governorship elections.

The Spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sani Usman, said at the time that the Board of Inquiry would investigate the “alleged unprofessional and unethical conduct” of some of its men who had been mentioned in the controversy.

Perceived Militarisation Of Process

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had in November 2015 also told the Nigerian Army Panel that soldiers indeed connived with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the election.

At the One Mechanized Division Headquarters of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, venue of the panel, the APC alleged that military officials were involved in misconduct during governorship elections.

The APC also alleged that there were perceived militarisation of the electoral process, as that was aptly demonstrated by the restriction of movement, arrest and harassment of many of its members by soldiers on the election day.

The party also claimed that some APC governors were barred from entering the state for the final rally of the party on June 19, 2014.

The APC Chairman, Mr Olajide Awe, who testified on behalf of his party, narrated to the panel how soldiers, acting on the orders of the Brigade Commander, General Momoh, seized money meant for logistics from APC leaders on the eve of the election.

The party urged the military authorities to properly investigate the allegations, with a view to sanctioning its personnel and advising them on how to be civil when monitoring future elections.

It also asked the Federal Government to punish perpetrators of such illegality.

Aluko’s Account

In January 2016, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Dr. Tope Aluko, also came on Channels Television’s Politics Today tendering evidences on how he claimed the election was rigged in favour of Governor Ayodele Fayose with the help of INEC officials and the military.

He referred to the audio which was leaked on the internet, saying it was genuine and not doctored.

“For the military to indict its members because of the election of a state you will know that what I am saying is not a lie,” Mr Aluko said, adding that some monies in hard currency were giving as the funding for the Ekiti governorship election.

FG Receives Repentant Niger Delta Militants 

Niger DeltaThe Federal Government will be receiving about 7,000 repentant militants in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday, January 23, 2016.

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Co-ordinator of the Amnesty Program, Retired Brigadier-General Paul Boroh said that the repentant militants declared their interest to disarm and join the Niger Delta Amnesty programme.

He was speaking to journalists after an inter-agency meeting to discuss the recent attack on pipelines in the Niger Delta.

General Boroh added that the ex-agitators have also declared their willingness to be involved in plans to ensure the security of pipelines and oil facilities in the region.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Ugure, had earlier hosted an inter-agency meeting, where strategies on how to counter the attacks on oil facilities were discussed.

Warri Pipeline Explosion

Facilities belonging to the Nigeria Gas Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC were blown up by suspected militants on Friday, January 15 in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.

This has forced the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to announce the operational shutdown of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries owing to crude supply challenges arising from the attacks on vital crude oil pipelines.

Both the Nigerian Army and the Navy have described the attack as sabotage and terrorism which will not be tolerated.

The JTF Commander of Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, Major-General Alani Okunola, said that the task force had mobilised men to apprehend those who attacked the oil facilities.

He also warned community leaders that they would be held responsible for any attack on the country’s oil and gas facilities in their domains.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, while condemning the act, promised that no efforts would be spared in securing the lives and property of the citizens.

He also proposed the establishment of special courts and tribunals to tackle crimes in the maritime sector.

 

Defence Minister Arrives Warri To Inspect Pipeline Explosion Site

pipeline explosionThe Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali (Rtd) has arrived at the Osubi Airport in Warri, Delta State for an on-the-spot assessment of oil facilities which exploded a few days ago.

On arrival, he moved to the 3 Battalion, Nigerian Army barracks for the guard of honour and a brief interaction with the troop.

On hand to receive the Minister was the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin; the Commander, Operation Pulo Shield, Major General Alani Gafar Okunola; Brigade Sector 1 Commander, Brigadier General Fanola Yahaya and the Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral A.O Sulaiman.

Representing the State Governor was the Secretary to the State Government, Ovie Agas, amongst other high ranking military officers and top government functionaries.

The JTF Commander of Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, Major-General Alani Okunola, had earlier inspected the site of the pipeline explosion.

He said that the task force was closing in on those responsible for blowing up oil pipeline and other facilities belonging to some oil companies and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC.

He described the Friday attack in Warri South-West local government area of Delta State as economic sabotage which the military would not tolerate.

Warri Pipeline Explosion: Army Vows To Arrest Perpetrators

PipelineThe military says it has begun the deployment of troops in Delta State to apprehend those who attacked oil facilities in the state recently.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) described the Friday attack in Warri South-West local government area of Delta State as economic sabotage.

The JTF Commander of Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, Major-General Alani Okunola, said that the task force is closing in on those blowing up oil pipelines belonging to the Nigeria Gas Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC.

While inspecting the site of the pipeline explosion, Major-General Okunola also warned community leaders that they would be held responsible for any attack on the country’s oil and gas facilities in their domains.

“There is no way we will fold our hands and allow the criminals to get away with it.

“It is a massive sabotage and critical to national assets; we must fish out those responsible for it.”

He described the act as not only criminal but capable of undermining the national security of Nigeria, adding that the pipeline vandals were able to carry out the act only because there were no men of the JTF on ground in the area.

The JTF boss visited the explosion site in company of the Brigade Commander, Farouk Yahaya and the Commander, 3 Battalion, Igwe Omoke.

Other top ranking officers of the Police, Navy, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and Air Force were part of the inspection team.

 

Ekiti Election Probe: APC Alleges Army Connived With PDP To Rig

Ekiti-Election-DayThe ruling All Progressives Congress has appeared before the Nigerian Army Panel Investigating the Ekiti governorship election, alleging that soldiers connived with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the election.

At the One Mechanized Division Headquarters of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, venue of the panel, the Ekiti State All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Mr Olajide Awe, testified on behalf of his party.

He alleged that military officials were involved in misconduct during governorship elections that was held more than a year ago.

Perceived Militarisation Of Process 

The APC also alleged that there were perceived militarisation of the electoral process, as that was aptly demonstrated by the restriction of movement, arrest and harassment of many of its members by soldiers on the election day.

The party also claimed that some APC governors were barred from entering the state for the final rally of the party on June 19, 2014.

The party urged the military authorities to properly investigate the allegations, with a view to sanctioning its personnel and advising them on how to be civil when monitoring future elections.

It also asked the Federal Government to punish perpetrators of such illegality.

The witnesses were 15 in number; 14 from the APC and one from the PDP, as they gave their individual accounts of what transpired before, during and after the Ekiti State governorship election.

When the first witness came to the dock, the Secretary of the Panel, Colonel Danladi Salihu, administered the oath before the commencement of the probe.

The President of the panel and General Officer Commanding One Mechanised Division, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, set the ball rolling by intimating the visitors the purpose of the sitting.

He told them that the panel was for fact finding and aimed at investigating the allegations of misconduct levelled against some army personnel during the election.

Major General Oyebade also assured them that the army authorities would not harass anyone of them during the course of their testimony and interrogation, hence the need for them to feel free to make their presentations.

With the remark from the President of the panel, the Ekiti APC Chairman was the first to testify.

‘Not Free And Fair’

Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on 22 June, 2014, declared Mr Ayo Fayose of the PDP the winner of the Ekiti governorship election held on 21 June, 2014, he said the election was far from being free and fair.

The APC chairman claimed the events before, during and after the election indicated that it was not free and fair, alleging that the election was rigged in a manner the country had never witnessed before.

He also stated that many APC leaders from different local governments and communities were allegedly arrested late at night before the election and were released without any charges brought against them after the announcement of the results of the governorship election.

He equally narrated to the panel how soldiers, acting on the orders of the Brigade Commander, General Momoh, seized money meant for logistics from APC leaders on the eve of the election.

After making his submissions, members of the panel did not allow the APC chairman to go without asking him questions.

They asked him if he had photographs or video clips to substantiate his claims.

They also asked him why the APC accepted the result of the election even with such heavy allegations.

In response, the Chairman explained that the decision to accept the result was taken in order to avoid breakdown of law and order as directed by the then Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who was also the party’s governorship candidate in the election.

The second person to appear before the panel was the Ekiti state PDP Secretary, Dr Tope Aluko, who refused to make his submission in the presence of journalists.

Instead, he insisted that he would make his presentation behind closed door for the safety of his life, a request that was granted to him by the President.

The Nigerian Army authorities had on November 9, 2015 inaugurated a five-man panel of inquiry to investigate and make appropriate recommendations on alleged partisanship of some soldiers and officers during the 2014/ 2015 general elections across Nigeria.

With few days to the end of its sitting, it is expected that more of those who were aggrieved with the roles played by the military would appear before the panel which would end its sitting on November 20.

According to the President of the panel, all findings and recommendations would be forwarded to the Chief of Army Staff where actions would be taken in line with military tradition.