The face-off between governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the federal government assumed a worrisome dimension on Thursday as the Department of State Security Services (DSS) came short of accusing the former of acts tantamount to treason.
Fingered in the plot to also destabilize the Nigerian state is Senate President Bukola Saraki’s Special Adviser on Youth Matters, Ikenga Ugochinyere.
The agency said, “Investigations have so far revealed that while Ikenga is the field organiser and coordinator of the planned protest, Governor Wike is his sole financial sponsor.
“The DSS is disturbed that the governor, who is the Chief Security Officer of the state, will stoop so low to hire thugs and hoodlums to attack the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and create an atmosphere of chaos and disorder at this yuletide season.”
The weighty allegations against Wike and Ugochinyere came via a statement issued by the DSS through its spokesman Tony Opuiyo, saying that the governor was making attempts to finance hoodlums recruited by Ugochinyere to cause bloodletting that will draw the attention and reaction of international bodies.
However, in a swift reaction, the offices of governor and Saraki have distanced themselves from any such plots.
“Governor Wike is a man of peace, and would never orchestrate disturbance in any part of the country.
“The Rivers State Government challenges the SSS to leave Governor Wike alone and instead focus their operational attention on Boko Haram insurgency that has killed over 70,000 people and displaced 6 million Nigerians in the past six years..” he said, adding that Rivers State Government would not “succumb to cheap blackmail” by any security agency of the government,” a statement from his office noted.
Reacting also in a statement by his spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Senate President Saraki accepted Mr. Ikenga is his aide, but said he was yet to be officially briefed by the SSS of the alleged plot.
“The Senate President will never condone any action by any of his aides that threatens the peace of any part of the country or provision of the law.”
“Dr. Saraki hereby calls on the DSS to properly investigate the allegations against Mr. Ikenga and if he is found to have acted against the law, then the law should take its natural course,” the statement said.
In levying its allegations against Wike and Ugochinyere, the DSS said, “The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the general public that it has uncovered a sinister plot by the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, to disrupt machinery of governance in strategic Federal Government agencies by provoking a violent breach of peace in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, today, 22nd December, 2016 and beyond, especially at this Yuletide season.
“To achieve this, the Governor has secured the services of one Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, a personal aide to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki (Sen), to mobilise some hoodlums to execute their plan. The aim of the plot is to cause mayhem, a complete breakdown of law and order and cast the security agencies and the Federal Government in bad light.
“It is also intended to divert public and international attention from the ongoing Police investigation into the unwholesome role played by the governor and some of his cronies in the violence that trailed the re-run election in Rivers State which resulted in the gruesome murder of civilians, including the beheading of DSP Mohammed Alkali and some of his colleagues as well as the brutalisation of INEC staff who failed to do the bidding of the governor.”
The DSS argued that there was an international target in the agenda, adding that those arrested were found with banners and posters meant to be used by a hired crowd of unemployed youth to galvanise hate against government agencies.
“In furtherance of this plot, protesters are to besiege the National Human Rights Commission, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Assembly, the Nigerian Army and Police Headquarters as well as British High Commission, US Embassy and the UN Secretariat, Abuja; all in an effort to raise false alarm that Rivers State was under siege of security agencies during the elections.
“While the obvious aim is to draw public sympathy and international attention to spurious allegations of involvement of Federal agencies in violence during the last elections in Rivers State, the actual objective is really to trigger a round of violent actions against the government and create opportunity for idlers to join the deceitful protest.
“Part of the orchestration is to provoke the security agencies and prompt them to take action against the protesters that could result in bloodletting. It is in this line that Ikenga had gone to the outskirts of Abuja to mobilise unemployed youths to carry out his bidding – all this was to be done for a fee and resources to be provided from the treasury of the Rivers State Government.
“It is also worrisome that Ikenga would engage in this nefarious plot when, after his last arrest earlier this year by the service, he had pledged to be law abiding and not to cause a breach of the peace.
“Though Ikenga is now at large, the trio of Emeka Idibia, Ugo Apuamagha and Ejike Nwachukwu have been arrested and are helping with further investigations; these men were picked up at the mobilisation venue trying to perfect the logistics for this unholy enterprise.
“The young men were hired by Ikenga to take custody of items and materials for the planned violent protest. The recovered items include banners, placards and posters with denigrating, inciting and hate inscriptions meant to impinge the authority of the Federal Government and further subvert the entire machinery of governance in the country.
“In order to make this look credible, Ikenga and his cohorts had adopted such groups as Lawyers in Defence of Democracy (LDD) and Citizens for Good Governance (CGG) as cover to supposedly make them look like serious minded civil rights groups and thus bring them into collision course with security agencies.
“Investigations have so far revealed that while Ikenga is the field organiser and coordinator of the planned protest, Governor Wike is his sole financial sponsor.
“The DSS is disturbed that the governor, who is the Chief Security Officer of the state, will stoop so low to hire thugs and hoodlums to attack the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and create an atmosphere of chaos and disorder at this yuletide season.
“Accordingly, the Service wishes to clearly state that it, and in fact other security agencies, will not be cowed, or by any means allow any person or group of persons, no matter how highly placed to subvert Nigeria’s statutory institutions meant to protect critical installations and law abiding citizens,” part of the statement read.
Analysts see the unfolding developments as a thickening plot to further cage Wike who himself has accused the Buhari administration of plans to make Rivers State ungovernable and find excuse to impose emergency rule.
By Ebere Ndukwu
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