Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) South-South zone, Port Harcourt, has flayed what it described as a wave of military attacks in parts of Ogoniland, in Gokana, Khana and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government areas, which it says has led to the killing of at least three persons.
The foremost civil rights group in a statement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said, on Monday, that soldiers attacked and burnt down the Port Harcourt home of Solomon Ndigbara, an ex-militant. This followed an earlier attack and destruction of Ndigbara’s home in Gokana LGA in January.
According to Chinedu Karl Uchegbu, CLO’s zonal chairman, one Barry Mpigi, a bigwig of All Progressives Congress (APC) allegedly dressed in army uniform was in the company of the soldiers who attacked and destroyed Ndigbara’s home.
The CLO says it is also deeply concerned about military invasions in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, stating that its investigation reveals that the military and other operatives may have been contributory to the reported insecurity around the axis.
It equally says the Army from 2 Amphibious Brigade, Bori Camp has been carrying out mass arrests from Onelga, and detain the people for several months with torture in the military barracks. It says a case in hand is one Victor Umejuru, who was arrested along with five others in Omoku in December 2015.
Meanwhile, Ndigbara, the former freedom fighter, has spoken out to the press, accusing Barry Mpigi, an APC chieftain and Magnus Abe, the APC candidate for Rivers South East senatorial zone in the forthcoming rerun election, of having knowledge of his travails at the hands of military.
According to Ndigbara, whose wife was allegedly brutalised by the soldiers, while his siblings were arrested, Abe and Mpigi had been ‘reaching out’ to him, pressuring him to defect from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to APC, and work for them during the forthcoming rerun elections in the state, scheduled for 19 March; so that he (Ndigbara) can be free, or else he will continually be hounded by the Army and Police.
But Abe has vehemently denied any knowledge of the military operation in the house of Ndigbara, the ex-militant and freedom fighter.
In a press release signed by Parry Saroh Benson, his spokesperson, Abe said, he was not a security operative, and did not have power to issue order to the Nigerian Army to carry out a raid on the house of the ex-militant.
He said the utterances of the ex-militant suggested that he knew something about the attack on his Senatorial Liaison Office building in Bori, Khana Local Government Area.
Abe said, it was wrong and illogical to associate him with a security operation, not to talk of investigating his connection.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has called on all residents of Khana and Gokana local government areas, who fled their homes as a result of military presence in the areas to return to their homes.
The governor said the heavy military presence in the two LGAs is aimed at promoting security of lives and property, and not to harm law-abiding residents.
In a statement issued by Simeon Nwakaudu, special assistant to Governor Wike on Electronic Media, the governor assured the people of their safety.
He said his administration would always enhance the security of all residents of the state, urging the people of Khana and Gokana LGAs to cooperate with the security agencies to maintain law and order.