Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, says the state government has written to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Major General Jamil Sarham, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, for prosecution for crimes against humanity.
Wike alleged that officers of the 6 Division stormed collation centres in Ikwerre, Emohua and Okrika Local Government Areas (LGAs) with INEC electoral officers, and carted away electoral materials and concocted results.
The Army had earlier revealed how Wike attempted to bribe its officers to aid his bid to compromise the elections in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
But a statement issued by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, on Tuesday, noted that the allegation against the Governor is “false, malicious and diversionary”.
"We are doing a petition to the International Criminal Court. We are demanding justice for all those killed by the GOC and his lieutenants. We will also send a petition to all the major embassies in the country on the atrocities committed against Rivers people by the GOC and his soldiers. We have also ready sent a petition to the Chief of Army Staff on the criminal actions of the GOC,” Wike said.
According to the Governor, there was credible intelligence that the GOC had concluded plans to open fire on his convoy, with the objective of causing a deadly shoot-out.
He continued: "Nigerians watched in utter dismay as three local government electoral officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicted soldiers of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army for orchestrating electoral violence, snatching election materials and criminally colluding with APC leaders to concoct results during the presidential and National Assembly elections. Rather than respond to these allegations, the GOC is making diversionary allegations.
"These weighty indictments of the officers and men of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army by the INEC Officials confirm earlier intelligence that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, is neck-deep in the killings of Rivers people and manipulation of the elections.
“Mrs Mary Efeture Imawuya, INEC electoral officer of Ikwerre LGA, INEC electoral officer for Emohua Local Government Area, Kenneth Etah and INEC electoral officer of Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Leo Okon, who addressed the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre at Elekahia, were unequivocal in their indictments of the soldiers and their criminal activities during the elections.
"The major problem they should defend is the INEC officers, who declared that the soldiers of the Nigerian Army abducted them, carted away materials and concocted results.”
He alleged that it was the soldiers and Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, who abducted the electoral officer of Ikwerre LGA and compelled her to write results.
He, however, denied ever making an attempt to compromise the electoral process, just as he debunked the claim that he offered money to the soldiers.
He noted that when the soldiers arrested Dr Reason Onya, the Rivers State Commissioner of Urban Development and Physical Planning, for being among the approved PDP agents to escort materials, the Commissioner called him. He said he requested to speak with the officer to demand the release of Onya, who was on legal electoral function for the PDP. The officer declined to speak but called back later and he informed him that Onya was on a legal assignment. He insisted that no bribe was offered.
Wike said in his capacity as governor, he spoke with about 10 different officers when PDP official agents raised concerns, adding that “the mischievous press briefing by the 6 Division is tantamount to a coup against a constituted authority”.
"The Army cannot be a judge in their matter. You cannot parade officials on legal electoral duties. You cannot change the narrative. They have violated all known laws,” Wike stated.