Olusola Fabiyi, Chukwudi Akasike and Leke Baiyewu
The Department of State Services has accused the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, of sponsoring protests to disrupt public peace in strategic Federal Government’s offices in Abuja and its environs.
The DSS said that the plot behind the alleged protests was to provoke a violent breach of peace in the Federal Capital Territory.
The DSS stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its spokesperson, Mr. Tony Opuiyo.
He said that the sinister plot by Wike to disrupt the machinery of governance in strategic Federal Government agencies by provoking a violent breach of peace was discovered during an intelligence gathering.
He said the plan was aimed at causing crisis during the Christmas and the New Year festivities.
However, Wike has denied the allegation, wondering whether those who protested against him in the past were also sponsored.
The governor said he had nothing to do with the man being accused of organising the protests.
But the DSS insisted that Wike had secured the services of Mr. Ugochinyere Ikenga, a personal aide to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to mobilise hoodlums to execute the plan.
Opuiyo stated that the aim of the plot was 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 the Independent National Electoral Commission (members of ) staff who failed to do the bidding of the governor.”
Opuiyo added that in furtherance of this plot, protesters were to besiege the National Human Rights Commission, the INEC headquarters, the National Assembly complex, the Nigerian Army and the Police headquarters as well as the British High Commission, US Embassy and the United Nations Secretariat, Abuja.
This, the DSS spokesperson said, was to raise false alarm that Rivers State was under the siege of security agencies during the elections.
He said that while the obvious aim was to draw public sympathy and international attention to spurious allegations of involvement of federal agencies in the violence that marred the last elections in Rivers State, Opuiyo insisted that the actual objective was really to trigger violent action against the government and create opportunity for those he called idlers to join the deceitful protest.
He said, “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 DSS, he had pledged to be law abiding and not to cause a breach of the peace.”
Opuiyo said that the trio of Emeka Idiba,Ugo Apaumagha and Ejike Nwachukwu had been arrested and were helping the DSS with further investigations.
He said, “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 and Citizens for Good Governance as cover to supposedly make them look like serious minded civil rights groups and thus bring them into collision course with security agencies.”
Opuiyo added that investigations had so far revealed that while Ikenga was the field organiser and coordinator of the planned protest, he alleged that Wike was his sole financial sponsor.
But Wike said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents that he was not responsible for the failed protest.
He said, “Was I the one who also organised the protest against myself? Why can’t they also tell us those behind that?
“I don’t know the man you just mentioned as being the suspect. I’m not interested in such protests.
“All I’m interested in is peace in my state and I have said this before. I think the DSS is partisan.”
Also, the Rivers State Government has described the statement by the DSS as a false and baseless alarm.
The Commissioner for Information and Communication in Rivers State, Dr. Austin Tam-George, said, “It is an irresponsible scaremongering by an agency that seems bent on a mission to blackmail the governor of Rivers State and bring the state government into disrepute.
“Governor Wike is a man of peace and would never orchestrate disturbances in any part of the country. The Rivers State Government challenges the DSS to leave Governor Wike alone, and instead focus their operational attention on the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed over 70, 000 people, and displaced six million Nigerians in the past six years.”
Saraki has also stated that he would not condone law breaking by his aides.
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