It was a horrifying scene yesterday afternoon in Port Harcourt, as policemen attached to Governor Nyesom Wike and that of the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, clashed.
Amaechi’s escort details were, however, unlucky during the 3p.m. attack, as one of them, Sgt. Eteng Ewelu, was battered, with blood on his face, while the AK-47 rifle of Sgt. Princewill Ubaji was snatched, while being forcibly disarmed, with the rifle taken away by the Rivers governor’s convoy.
Wike, through his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, in his reaction, however, claimed that personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) and soldiers attached to the minister of transportation attacked his convoy, while allegedly attempting to assassinate him.
But Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi Media Office in a statement yesterday said, “In a blatant show of naked raw power, Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi this (yesterday) afternoon narrowly escaped being shot by security men attached to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. His car wasn’t that lucky though. The car was vandalized with a broken side mirror.”
Report of the sad incident was immediately lodged at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) of the Rivers Police Command, headed by Zaki Ahmed, while Ubaji’s rifle had not been recovered, with Ewelu and other injured policemen still receiving treatment in undisclosed hospitals in Port Harcourt, as at press time.
It was exclusively gathered yesterday evening in Port Harcourt through a top security source, who would not want to be named, that the unfortunate incident heightened tension in the area, with passersby, motorists, other road users and persons in the neighbourhood scampering to safety, to avoid being hit by stray bullets in the confusion.
The security source said: “Today, November 11, 2017 (yesterday) at 3 p.m., the Transportation Minister, who was driving from the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in company with police escorts, got his convoy intercepted by the Rivers governor (Wike) at Trans-Amadi Industrial Layout by Nkpogu in Port Harcourt. The security details managed to ferry Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to safety, after which the Rivers governor led his Chief Security Officer (CSO), Promise Wosu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), and about ten mobile policemen, to attack his predecessor/benefactor’s convoy.
“The Rivers governor and his troops physically assaulted by slapping and bruising the policemen, especially Inspector Johnson Imonikhe, Sgt. Eteng Ewelu and Sgt. Princewill Ubaji, attached to the transportation minister and the governor made away with the AK-47 rifle of Sgt. Princewill Ubaji, one of the policemen attached to the transportation minister.
“The AK-47 rifle was forcibly taken away personally by Governor Wike, who was accompanied by his CSO. The policeman with blood on his face, Sgt. Eteng Ewelu, was hit with an iron by Wosu (Wike’s CSO), in the presence of the Rivers State governor.
“The snatched AK-47 rifle is still in the custody of the Rivers governor’s team and the incident has been referred to State CID (SCID) for investigation.”
When contacted for his reaction through the telephone yesterday evening, the Rivers Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), stated that he would find out the details, asking our reporter to call back in ten minutes, but when contacted twice, after thirty minutes, he did not picked the calls, and he had not returned the call, as at press time.
Nwakaudu in a statement said: “Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on Saturday escaped assassination, as Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in the motorcade of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, attacked his convoy.
“The governor, who was on project inspection, was attacked at Nwanja Junction on Trans-Amadi Road. The SARs personnel and soldiers in the minister’s convoy hit down the governor’s escort rider and attacked the policemen in the pilot car. Mr Debewari, Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the minister of transportation, supervised the attack, which included damage of cameras held by journalists.
“Also part of the attack was the Commander of F-SARS in Rivers State, Mr. Akin Fakorede (a Chief Superintendent of Police), who received the minister of transportation at the Port Harcourt International Airport and accompanied him on his trip.”
He added that after the attack the governor continued with his inspection of projects, adding that Wike was not harmed.
The minister’s media office said the incident which occurred along Trans-Amadi Road, Nwaja axis involved cars of many of Amaechi’s supporters while the Minister’s black jeep was intercepted and blocked at the junction by the security motorcycle outrider attached to Wike after two cars had passed through.
The statement added, “One of the two cars had security men assigned to protect the minister in Port Harcourt. Suddenly, gun-toting security men attached to Wike’s convoy surrounded the Minister’s car, threatening to shoot him. They hit the car, tried to smash the windscreens, back and side windows and broke a side mirror. All through this attack, Amaechi remained calm, inside the fortified Jeep. While the attack occurred, Wike remained inside his vehicle.”
It added that the minister eventually passed through after the intervention of the security team on ground to protect him in Port Harcourt. It continued, “However, when Governor Wike got to the point where the incident occurred after Amaechi’s vehicle had gone by, his security men blocked the road again, dragged out from a vehicle and thoroughly beat up a police man attached to protect Amaechi in Port Harcourt. The Policeman’s riffle was also taken from him.”
The Amaechi media office added that Wike came out of his car, and with his security team went from one vehicle to another of Amaechi’s supporters charging at them, harassing and abusing them. It alleged that Wike’s security men were heard loudly insulting Amaechi and calling him derogative names.
In the meantime, Ikwerre youths have condemned what they called the attack on Amaechi and the policemen in his convoy.
The Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM) International from the four Rivers Local Government Areas of Port Harcourt City, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre and Emohua, described the attack as very unfortunate and least expected.
Amaechi and Wike are both Ikwerre. The transportation minister hails from Ubima in Ikwerre LGA, while the Rivers governor is an indigene of Rumueprikom in Obio/Akpor council.
IYM, through its President-General, Azubuike Nwanjoku, a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, representing Ikwerre constituency, in an online statement by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Dike Bekwele, declared that Wike’s action was suicidal and detrimental to the already-charged environment being witnessed in the state and insecurity in Rivers in recent times.