Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has demanded the redeployment of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Maj Gen Jamil Sarham, over an alleged unprofessional conduct during the general elections.
The governor spoke at Government House in Port Harcourt when he granted audience to the Nigerian Army Committee on Electoral Violence during the 2019 polls.
He said, “Throughout my experience politically, I have never seen the Nigerian Army play the kind of role they played during the last general elections. The Nigerian Army purely made political interferences all through.
“We will show you the visuals of the roles played by the Nigerian Army. If you go to the 6 Division, unless they have moved them out, you will see ballot boxes and electoral materials.
“The 6 Division served as the take-off base for electoral interference. We formally request that appropriate sanctions be meted out to the GOC of the 6 Division. It has never happened that the Army Division becomes the operational base of a political party.
“This GOC became actively involved in politics. He has his own government in Rivers State. He has no respect for civil authorities. We seek the immediate redeployment of the GOC, Major General Jamil Sarham.
“He cannot fight crime. Leaving the GOC here will be creating more crises. He is here to fight crime and not to play politics. If soldiers fight crime, the way they intervened in the elections, there will be no kidnapper anywhere.”
Wike said elections took place in the state apart from Abua/Odual Local Government Area
He said problems surfaced during the collation when some soldiers invaded collation centers to cart away Form EC 8C for the governorship election and Form EC 8b1 for the House of Assembly poll.
The governor said, “It was during the collation that soldiers interfered. They will invade a collation center, arrest the electoral officer, returning officer and mercilessly beat PDP agents.”
He alleged that soldiers arrested and detained over 200 PDP leader’s agents and supporters at Bori Camp before, during and after the March 9 elections.
The chairman of the committee, Maj Gen Ayibakuro Gagariga, said the committee was established by the Chief of Army Staff to investigate allegations of misconduct by soldiers during the elections.
Gagariga added,“There was the killing of Lt Gumi in Abonnema. Others were also killed during the elections in Rivers State. There is also the allegation of an attempt to assassinate the governor.”