The Rivers State Government is to send a delegation to console with the Nigerian Army over soldiers who died while on election duty in the state, including soldiers killed at Abonnema a few days ago.
Two soldiers were shot dead in separate incidents in Abonnema, causing people to flee the community for fear of a reprisal from the army.
The delegation would be led by the Deputy Governor of the state, Ipalibo Banigo, according to a statement from the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Thursday.
“The Rivers State Deputy Governor will lead a high-profile delegation to the Nigerian Army to commiserate with them on the death of their personnel during the Presidential and National Assembly elections and on March 2, 2019, at Abonnema,” the statement said.
The statement quoted the state governor, Nyesom Wike, as saying that a committee headed by Mr Banigo will also identify other people who lost their lives during the elections and their families.
The state government would give “necessary assistance” to the bereaved families, Mr Wike said.
Mr Wike, the statement said, was speaking on Wednesday at a memorial service in honour of Abonnema people and soldiers who died on February 23 and March 2.
Governor Wike commiserated with the bereaved families and prayed to God to comfort them.
The governor condemned politicians who promote political violence, saying they should be compelled to present their children to execute political violence.
“I appeal to politicians to understand that power comes from God. Those who foment trouble should be asked to bring their grown-up children to execute political violence,” he said.
The relationship between the Rivers government and the security agencies in the state have been on its lowest level since the inception of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government in 2015.
Rivers is under the control of the PDP, and Mr Wike, who is a critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, is one of the most influential leaders in the party.
The governor has often accused the police and the army in the state of planning to kill him. Both the police and the army have repeatedly denied such accusation.
The army recently, in turn, accused Mr Wike of attempting to bribe a military chief, Jamil Sarham, a major general and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the 6 Division of the Nigerian army, because of the 2019 general elections.
The Rivers government responded by saying the military was trying to divert attention from the “atrocities they are committing in Rivers because of the elections”.
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