The House of Representative in Nigeria is investigating an alleged invasion of Ogoni Land by military in the build up to the March 19 re-run election in Rivers State.
The committee of the House in charge of the Army said that the investigation would enable the lawmakers know the remote causes of the alleged invasion.
Members of the Committee held a town hall meeting with friends and family members of the alleged victims on Monday in Port Harcourt, the capital of the State.
At the meeting, the chairman of the team, Honourable Rima Kwewum, said that the committee was in the state not to apportion blames but to find the facts of the situation and make appropriate submissions.
The re-run election was characterised by reports of deaths and threats, with the party in power in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) blaming each other for the violence.
The people of Rivers State have been urged to reciprocate Federal government’s commitment to the implementation of the UNEP report by voting in the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in Saturday’s senatorial rerun elections.
This appeal was made on Tuesday by the leader of the APC delegation to Rivers State and the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, during the grand finale of the Rivers State rerun elections rally in Gokana Local Government Area.
Mr Amaechi, while canvassing for massive support for the APC candidate also disclosed that one billion dollars has been released by the federal government for the clean-up of Ogoni land.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress’ candidate in the senatorial re-run polls, Mr Andrew Uchendu, has pledged to improve socio-economic infrastructure in Etche Local Government Area.
He said this at an earlier held town hall meeting which had in attendance the former Rivers State Governor, Mr Chibuike Amaechi.
The Minister also assured eligible voters that adequate security has been provided by the federal government during the polls.
Attention is now shifting to Rivers State, where a re-run election is scheduled to hold on Saturday.
Reports from Channels Television’s correspondent, Charles Erukka, indicate that there is heavy security presence of both soldiers and policemen.
There is massive land and air surveillance, as helicopters are seen hovering round the city of Port Harcourt to identify any dark spot that will need any security beef up before or during Saturday’s re-run, Mr Eruka said.
The Inspector General of police had deployed 6,000 policemen to Rivers State and there has been apprehension among politicians particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the heavy deployment.
While the PDP is holding the last lap of its rallies in Bori Township, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee is holding its meeting in Port Harcourt.
The Rivers State re-run election is holding in the three senatorial districts, 11 House of Representatives and 22 State Assembly Seats.
The political tension in Rivers State has continued to gather momentum, as the State and National Assembly rerun election get closer.
This time, with less than one week to the polls, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are in a war of words over issues surrounding recent killings and the conduct of the election.
The Minister of Transport, who is also the leader of the APC in the state, Chibuike Amaechi, has temporarily relocated to the state till after the polls
Scores of APC youths are on the streets in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, as leaders and supporters of the party wait patiently for the former Governor and Minister of Transport who is currently engaging the media on trending issues in Rivers politics.
On his arrival, the Minister told journalists that the government of the day should be made to answer questions about the recent killings in the state.
“The only way to stop insecurity is for the Governor to stop supporting these criminals. He has to stop his party from killing APC members. That is not politics,” he said.
He said there was no cause for alarm, as far as threats of insecurity in the state were concerned.
“Tell them not to be afraid. The President has assured us of security. You will see security that day. Anybody who owns a gun should bring out his gun that day.
“We have one million membership base and if they come to vote, PDP can’t defeat us,” he said in optimism.
The Commissioner of Information in the state, Austin Tam-George, who is keeping tab with the Minister’s statements, believes the reports of killings in the state were cult related.
“Those who were been arrested and are now in police custody are cults kingpins and they have made confessional statements and those people detained have released intelligence that is now being used by the police to track down others,” he told Channels Television.
He accused the APC of claiming that every dead person was its member, a situation he said was unfortunate.
The Commissioner insisted that the election was not a do or die affair, assuring Rivers residents that the Governor’s promise of a free, fair and credible electoral process would be upheld.
“People should be allowed to make their choices in a violence-free atmosphere,” the emphasised.
The people in the streets hope the polls will indeed be peaceful.
At least nine persons have been killed and two others injured after gunmen stormed two communities in Rivers State in Nigeria’s south-south.
In a statement, the Police spokesman in Rivers State, Mr Ahmad Muhammad, said the armed men went on a shooting spree, in Obrikom and Obor communities.
Mr Muhammad said that six persons died immediately after the attack while three more victims died hours later.
According to him, the assailants also set ablaze the house of a local politician, Vincent Ogbagu, who is a state parliament candidate in the April 11 election.
Obrikom and Obor are neighbouring communities in Rivers State.
The attack came after a curfew imposed in Rivers State to contain unrest after the opposition disputed results from last weekend’s Presidential and National Assembly elections was lifted on Thursday.
The government imposed the curfew after thousands of opposition supporters descended on the electoral office in the state capital Port Harcourt on Sunday and Monday to demand a rerun of the vote.
They claimed no election was held in the state, but the electoral body said it had investigated their claims and found out that there were not enough reasons for it to consider the cancellation of the elections in the state.