Following the case at the Rivers state governorship election petition tribunal filed by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dakuku Peterside challenging the victory of Governor Nyesom Wike, more witnesses have again testified against the governor and his party.
The witnesses who are from the Nigerian army testified on Thursday, September 10, before the Justice Suleman Ambrosa-led tribunal insisting that the April 11 gubernatorial poll did not hold in the state as claimed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Peoples Democratic Party and Governor Wike.
In a This Day report, the chief of army staff had been compelled by a subpoena to testify before the court. The army chief eventually sent three other army officers to appear in his stead.
The three army officers, Captain Abubakar Mohammed, Captain Fred Bala and Captain Isa Almakura who covered three different local government areas in their testimony at the Rivers tribunal maintained that the election did not hold in virtually all the polling centres assigned to them to provide security.
The statements from the three army officers who led different deployments on the order of the Nigerian Army substantiated an earlier testimony at the tribunal by Captain Garba Sani on Wednesday, September 9.
The officers said that political hoodlums and thugs carted away the election materials after those that were ready to cast their votes had allegedly been scared away with gun shots.
According to Almakura who covered Ikwerre local government area along with 30 other soldiers, the entire council was tensed up right from April 10 when his team arrived the area to provide security for voters.
The captain told the tribunal that there was sporadic gun shooting in major towns of the council, hence the voters got scared and stayed away from voting.
He said due to this, the adhoc staff of INEC had to call them shouting for help and rescue from the thugs that invaded their polling units, adding that on arrival at polling units in Osuala, Onuerelu, Omerelu, Alu the INEC staff mainly corps members were found mercilessly beaten by the thugs.
Almakura testified that the INEC staff informed them (the soldiers) that thugs had invaded them, hijacked and made away with the election materials.
The army officer told the tribunal that they met canopies, tables and chairs set for election destroyed by the thugs who allegedly ran into the bush with the election materials.
He also noted that they handed the INEC workers over to mobile policemen from Unit 56. He added that the policemen in turn moved the helpless workers to the local government headquarters for safety.
The other two soldiers who covered different local government areas for the army validated the evidence given by Captain Almakura.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has stated that the state was excluded from the bailout funds recently released to states by President Buhari.
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