Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on Infrastructure, Otonye Briggs, yesterday, told the Justice Monima Danagogo-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry that the Nigerian Army incarcerated him for 11 days and denied him the right to perform his civic duty during the March 9 election.
The commission was inaugurated by Governor Wike to investigate the remote and immediate causes of electoral violence, killings and other related acts that occurred during the February 23 and March 9, presidential, governorship and House of Assembly elections respectively, in Rivers.
Briggs accused the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, for denying him to perform his duty as the returning and collation agent of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, for governorship poll.
He accused chieftains of the opposition party in the area of being the masterminds of the ill-treatment meted out to him by the military.
“On March 9, I went out to carry out my civic responsibility because it was an election day.
“Very early morning on that day, I dressed by 7am to go to the RAC centre, where the election materials were supposed to be distributed.
“I was the returning/collation agent of PDP in Akuku-Toru council. Based on that position, I was supposed to be present at the RAC centre to witness how the election materials would be distributed to the units and wards for the election to commence.
“Four military vehicles drove to where I was with about 15-20 military vehicles. I saw in one of the Army vehicles, an officer wearing a white T-shirt and pointed at me as one of the PDP leaders. The Army officers pointed their guns at me and said I was under arrest.
“They arrested me, denying me the opportunity to discharge my assignment as PDP returning and collation agent for governorship election on that March 9 election.
“It was on March 19, or 20, that a court order was made. Instead of Army to release me based on court order, they released me to FSARS. I sent message to my lawyer.
“It was FSARS that released me based on the court order after I was incarcerated for 11 days in cells,” he told the commission.
Similarly, the Akuku-Toru council Secretary and Leader of Ward 14, Obonoma Tobins Tobins, told the commission of inquiry that over 70 soldiers, with eight Hilux vans invaded his residence in search of the council Chairman, Rowland Sekibo, and other chieftains of the opposition party in the area.