Nigeria: Elections - Niger Delta Politicians Arming Thugs for Trouble - Nigerian Army

19 February 2019

The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army headquartered in Port Harcourt says it has uncovered a plot by politicians in the Niger Delta region to arm thugs in fake military uniform to cause trouble on the opening day of the general elections on Saturday.

The 6 Division, the newest of army formations created in 2016, is responsible for Nigeria's Niger Delta region with long-running volatility and critical oil and gas infrastructure.

In a statement on Tuesday by a spokesperson for the army, Aminu Iliyasu, a colonel, the army said intelligence revealed the "unholy" plan allegedly by political actors in the Niger Delta.

"Credible intelligence available to Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) has uncovered an unholy plan by some political actors within its Area of Responsibility (AOR) to arm and sponsor miscreants in addition to using military-like fatigue dress for deception to cause pandemonium at polling stations for their political gain," said the army.

The army did not name the politicians or political parties involved in the alleged plan.

On Sunday, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Emma Okah, alleged the intelligence chief for the 6 Division, Nasiru Najaja, was stopped by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while trying to access the Central Bank of Nigeria in Port Harcourt to tamper with sensitive materials for the elections.

The army later dismissed Mr Okah's accusation as "bizarre and slanderous."

It said Mr Najaja, a Brigadier-General, "as the coordinator of all deployments was at the CBN Port Harcourt and other locations to assess the level of troops deployment and alertness."

Since late 2016 when INEC conducted rerun legislative polls in Rivers State that were fraught with violence and irregularities, the state government led by Governor Nyesom Wike and the 6 Division have been trading accusations.

Continuing, in its statement on Tuesday, the army said: "While covert efforts are on-going to track the source of the weapons and the agents involved in conjunction with sister security agencies, authorities of 6 Division NA wish to unequivocally state that anyone found to be disrupting the electoral process under any guise will be decisively dealt with in accordance with the laws no matter how highly placed he or she is.

"To this end, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division and Land Component Commander (LCC) OPDS Maj Gen Jamil Sarham wish to reassure the good people of Niger Delta of providing adequate security in conjunction with other security agencies before, during and after the 2019 General Elections."

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