Rivers Re-run: Observer Group Writes US, Demands Justice Over Killings

Rivers Re-run: Observer Group Writes US, Demands Justice Over Killings

Chris Steven, Abuja

An observer group in the recently held State and National Assembly elections in River State, Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative (BBLLI) has written to the Ambassador of United States in Nigeria, demanding for justice over the killing of a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member during the election.The observer group is also seeking the intervention of the US government over the lives of security personnel that were lost during the election.

In a letter dated ‎March 29, 2016, signed by Anthony Onuya Yusuf, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, BBLLI said the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, should be held responsible for the crises that erupted during the elections in the state.

He said the Governor should be thoroughly investigated and charged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague for committing crimes against humanity during the recent rerun elections in Rivers State. 

“The unpleasant atmosphere created by stakeholders of the two major political parties to wit; All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), particularly series of unwarranted threats issued by Governor Nyesom Wike, no doubt are the root causes of the wanton killings and destruction of valuable properties. 

“We have it on record that Governor Nyesom Wike, who is statutorily duty bound as the Chief Security Officer to maintain peace, law and order in Rivers State, had openly threatened violence and death to stakeholders long before and even during the rerun elections.

“In fact, Governor Wike was reported to have told all staffers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) posted to Rivers State on election duties to write their Wills ahead of the rerun elections, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their acolytes were battle ready to decapitate anyone attempting to stand as an obstacle to their victory at the polls.

“Unfortunately, Wike’s threats materialized and the rerun elections were greeted by violence, leading to numerous atrocities perpetrated against our security agencies by some armed gang believed to have been sponsored by the Rivers State Government.

Worthy of mention is the brutal murder in Ahoada-West Local Government Area of the State of a member of the National Youth Service Corps named Samuel Chukwudumebi Okonta who served as an INEC ad-hoc staff with call-up number RV/15B/5539.

“The murder of Mr. Okonta, an orphan and indigene of Illah community in Oshimili-North Local Government Area of Delta State, has attracted both local and international condemnation. His death was not only painful and condemnable but avoidable.

“We are rudely shocked that Nigerians and members of the international community who usually cry foul and castigate our security operatives whenever they go wrong in the discharge of their duties have thrown their conscience to the wind by choosing to keep mute instead of demanding for justice on account of the unimaginable atrocities and provocations perpetrated against security agencies in recent past”, the letter read

In the letter, he also said men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services and Nigerian Army maimed, tortured and beheaded by the dreaded Ombatse cult in Nasarawa State together with those incessantly killed in the South-East by Biafran agitators and Colonel Samaila Inusa of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry Jaji, Kaduna abducted on Saturday, 26th March, 2016 are entitled to human rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

“The slain men and officers who laid down their lives for the service of fatherland are not angels from heaven but responsible Nigerians with obligations to families, friends and dependants. Their lives deserved adequate protection and at death their killers ought to be brought to face the wrath of the law without fear or favour.

“We join other advocates of justice across the world in condemning the callousness and political opportunism exhibited by agents of the Rivers State Government against humanity in the name of preventing the APC led Federal Government of Nigeria from taking over power at the State level”.