The Nigerian army has accused the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, of making attempt to bribe a military chief because of the 2019 general elections.
The state government has denied the accusation, saying the military was rather trying to divert attention from the “atrocities they are committing in Rivers because of the elections”.
The army in a statement issued on the Election Day said, “It is indeed no secret to the military authorities that Governor Wike has on various occasions made attempts to compromise the integrity of the GOC 6 Division, Maj Gen Jamil Sarham.
“Having failed, despite series of overtures and monetary pledges of millions of dollars, both in person and from cronies, it is no surprise that the frustrated Governor has resorted to this appalling campaign of calumny.”
The statement was issued by the acting spokesperson of the army, Sagir Musa.
The statement was in response to an allegation that the army attempted to assassinate the Rivers governor, Mr Wike.
“The Nigerian Army does not train assassins, as such the institution or her personnel cannot be involved in sending assassins to murder a state governor as alleged by Gov Nyesom Wike,” the army said.
The army, which said it was neutral in the nation’s elections, challenged the governor to prove his allegations against it within seven days or “he could as well, save face and keep his peace”.
The Nigerian Army had on February 23, denied reports that Its troops tried to assassinate Wike.
“The NA wishes to respond to the bogus and unsubstantiated allegations being peddled by the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike that the GOC 6 Div, Maj Gen Jamil Sarham purportedly sent troops to cordon off his residence”
The Nigerian Army also denied reports that it shot at civilians during the election.
“Information reaching HQ NA revealed that troops of 6 Division on a legitimate duty in Abonnema, Akuku Toru LGA of Rivers State were attacked by some hoodlums. The attack occurred between Charles and Bob-Manuel’s compounds in Abonnema Town at about 1:00pm on the 23rd Feb 2019”
The Rivers government, speaking through the Commissioner for Information, Emma Okah, said the army’s allegation was “mere blackmail to cover the evil perpetrated by soldiers in the state.”
“You have seen what happened yesterday. You have seen how innocent people were being killed for nothing. You have seen how military people are sacking all the collation centres, everywhere in Rivers state, and taking control, in order to rig the elections for the APC,” Mr Okah said to pressmen on Sunday.
“Different groups in the PDP have been crying about what the army is planning to do in Rivers, particularly a week before now.”
Mr Okah said soldiers were holding INEC official and others hostage in Isiokpo, in Ikwerre Local Government Area, since Saturday night.
Governor Wike’s arch political rival, Rotimi Amaechi, who is the minister of transportation, is from Ikwere.
Mr Okah said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the elections in Ikwere. He said the army was trying to help Mr Amaechi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to manipulate the election results.
“PDP won at all the units in Ikwerre, we have all the results. Amaechi is the one bringing all the soldiers,” Mr Okah said.