.We didn’t spend N360m to rig election -Wike
A police panel constituted to investigate electoral and other offenses perpetrated during the December 10 legislative re-run elections in Rivers State says it recovered N111 million from 23 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.The investigative panel set up by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, presented its report in Abuja on Tuesday, explaining that the money was recovered from 23 suspects allegedly bribed to rig the polls.
But in a swift reaction, Governor Nyesom Wike said he did not spend N360million to rig the Rerun legislative elections.
The chairman of the panel, DCP Damian Okoro disclosed that, “the sum total of N111.3 million was recovered from 23 electoral officials out of N360million”, adding that three senior electoral officers collected N20 million each out of the N360 million given to them by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, while the remaining officers received N15 million each.
He further alleged that there were some cases of misconduct on the part of some electoral officers, who were compromised in the line of duty.
“By this investigation, this panel has diligently unraveled what went wrong with the re-run election in Rivers, the details of which are contained in the report.
“We discovered that failure of leadership and followership rather than law enforcement was responsible for the political upheaval in the state,” Okoro said.
He added that the task given to the panel was challenging because of the tense political and security atmosphere in the state.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police said that lawless elements targeted political opponents of their sponsors, and law enforcement agents, especially the police.
He attributed some of the violent acts to inflammatory statements by some narrow-minded politicians.
“Apart from their utterances, politicians in their desperation for power, also armed thugs who unleashed terror on their opponents,” he said, pointing out that six police officers, who were indicted, had been tried and dismissed from the force.
In his remarks, the IGP said a report and recommendation would be forwarded to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for his advice.
He said appropriate action would be taken against indicted persons to serve as deterrent.
“We are going to take appropriate action in conjunction with other security agencies to put an end to this problem,’’ he said, urging Nigerians to have confidence in the security agencies and believe the panel report.
Idris stated that Governor Wike refused to cooperate with the panel even when the team visited him in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital.
He said the investigation would go a long way toward ending electoral malpractices in the country.
“We will be failing in this country if we allow this to continue,’’ he said, disclosing that the recovered money would be paid into government coffers.
But reacting, Governor Wike said the panel’s claim that the Rivers State Government spent N360million to ensure that the rerun legislative elections of December 10, 2016 were rigged in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), “is patently false, politically- motivated and cooked by the Nigerian Police to justify the violence they visited on the people of Rivers State during the rerun”.
A statement issued by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, read in part: “The statement is patently false, politically- motivated and cooked by the Nigerian Police to justify the violence they visited on the people of Rivers State during the rerun.
This Inspector General of Police and his team are neck deep crime. This statement credited to the Police High Command is aimed at diverting attention from its loss of credibility, after its attempt to assassinate Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike failed woefully.
“The Press Conference addressed by the IGP Investigative Panel headed by Mr. Damian Okoro and the IGP Ibrahim Idris is yet another fictional account by a Police Force that has lost its moral base as it is intent on reinventing itself through falsehood.
“The Press Conference by the Police High Command is a hasty desperate attempt to circumvent the judicial process as Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has already challenged the legality of the IGP Investigative Panel at the Federal High Court.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike did not spend N360million to rig the Rerun legislative elections of December 10, 2016. The people of Rivers State overwhelmingly voted the PDP across the state because of the outstanding performance of Governor Wike since May 29, 2015.
“The drama at the Press Conference convened by the IGP Investigative Panel and the IGP reveals the script being acted by the Police High Command, which is now obviously an arm of the Ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC).
“Damian Okoro claimed that three INEC Officials who allegedly met with Governor Wike would be interviewed by journalists at the event. The IGP hatchet man after his false press statement refused to allow the promised interview to take place because he knew that the truth would be revealed.
“The Nigerian Police played an inglorious role during the December 10, 2016 , helping the All Progressives Congress ( APC) to rig elections in the few constituencies where they were declared winner. Video evidence in the public domain proved that the police killed, maimed, snatched result sheets and ballot boxes as they assisted the APC all through the ill-fated rerun elections.
“On December 12, 2016, the Rivers SARS Commander, Mr Akin Fakorede was caught on camera manhandling electoral officials as he sought to rig the Rivers East Senatorial District in favour of the APC at the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Center.
“Prior to the rerun legislative elections, the Rivers State APC Fake INEC Result Sheets printing Syndicate was bursted and the lead printer, Atonyesia Peterside arrested. The Nigerian Police has since swept the matter under the carpet, even though majority of the fake result sheets were used on December 10, 2016 by APC and pliant INEC Officials under police protection.
Even in concocting falsehood, the Police High Command failed to display intelligence. A simple poser to the Police High Command: Where did the so-called electoral officials save the monies that they displayed before journalists two months after they allegedly received bribe? How come no funds where spent by the said officials under the present circumstances?
This entire drama is aimed at helping the Rivers APC at the Election Tribunal as the Police High Command did during the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal at Abuja.
Nigerians are not deceived by the Security Arm of the APC. The Police High Command as presently constituted will not escape the long arm of the law as they are complicit in the violence unleashed on Rivers people during the rerun legislative elections.
Countless false press conferences and false press statements will not improve the damaged image of the Nigerian Police in relation to their ignoble role during the rerun legislative elections of December 10, 2016.
“A final poser to the Police High Command: Why did the Police refuse to tell the World about the persons who killed DSP Alkali?”
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