The troops of 6 Division Nigerian Army has rescued official of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) abducted by political thugs in Etche Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State, South-South region of Nigeria.
The Deputy Director of Army Public Relations (DDAPR), Col. Aliyu Iliyasu, who confirmed this on Friday, said the troops also arrested 62 suspects behind the kidnap of the INEC official.
Iliyasu said the troops “while on ‘Operation Safe Conduct II ‘, during the re-run of the 2015 elections for Etche State Constituency II and Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency seats today arrested 62 suspects conveyed in three commuter buses and an SUV at Ulakwo district at about 10:00am armed with dangerous weapons”.
“The eagle – eyed troops discovered dynamites hidden in the vehicles with the criminal intent of causing havoc and disrupting the election process. Preliminary investigation revealed that one Mr. Samuel Nwans-Oike was their sponsor,” he said.
In a related development, the DDAPR said troops have arrested another set of 73 suspected hoodlums who were bent on disrupting the electoral process at the polling booth near the INEC office in Etche LGA Secretariat.
He said that preliminary investigation however revealed that none of the arrested persons had valid voters card. All the suspects would be handed over to the police at the end of investigation for prosecution.
In the same vein, Iliyasu said the “troops at about 1:00 pm conducted a Rescue Operation at Obite village ward 10 unit 1 where 3 INEC Staff (Mr. Emmanuel Biagbor, Mrs. Udeme Sunday and Mrs. Pekele Essien) earlier kidnapped were freed.
“The victims were found in the house of one Chief Longinus. Investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding this criminal act is ongoing. ”
To this end, he added, Headquarters 6 Division, Nigerian Army Port Harcourt, wishes to enjoin all law – abiding citizens to continue to exercise their civic rights without any fear of intimidation while reiterating our earlier warning to would-be trouble makers and all those that have no official business with the elections to stay clear of the elections areas or face the full wrath of the law.