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Rivers’ 2015 Election Violence Probe (Day 4) – Live Updates #RiversInquiry

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The River State Commission of Inquiry probing politically-motivated killings in the state moves its sitting, Thursday, to the Eleme local government secretariat.

The Commission, instituted by Chibuike Amaechi, the Rivers State governor, is also investigating damage to properties and grievous bodily harms to persons ahead and during the presidential and gubernatorial elections in the state.

Today’s inquiry will listen to petitions from Eleme local government area.

PREMIUM TIMES will be bringing you live updates from the venue of today’s proceedings in Port Harcourt.

LIVE BLOG

13.38

The next witness, Walter Olaka, steps out to testify.

He says he is into community peace-keeping and currently the youth president of Ogale community.

He says he is a member of the APC.

"On the 28th of March, while I was at Unit 2, there was this complaint that since the result sheet is not available, some group of PDP members want to force pressure on voters to commence voting.

"I went there with the peace-keeping team and saw that they were actually demanding for result sheet. While I was still there, some PDP people came towards us.

"I heard one making a call saying that the youth president is here. After that phone call, not up to 30 minutes, we saw about three Hilux coming towards the market street with full headlight.

"When those people came out, first thing they did was they started shooting. We actually moved back. Since they didn't make harm in their shooting, we now went closer.

He says when they were moving closer, a soldier opened fire on them, shooting one Chris Nneji who was beside him.

"Initially when we ran away, those boys that made call moved closer to the hilux and were discussing with them."

"The person that was in that Hilux was Honourable Olaka Nwogu. I called the police that we just wanted to ask for result sheet and this is our experience."

He says after Chris was shot, he informed Inside Eleme, a newspaper, the DPO of Eleme, and the paramount ruler about the incident.

"The DPO sent Inspector Monday to the place. He told me he would be going back to the DPO to give him the report.

"What the police did was the DPO came in a Hilux and carried the deceased to Last Home mortuary. The corpse is still in the mortuary."

He says on April 16th, he was at home when a crowd of people came. "My sister and brother escaped gunshots. They were asking 'where is Presido?' They damaged the house windows."

He says they came the day Nyesom Wike was announced as winner of the governorship election.

He tenders photographs of damaged of his house, adding that they took away two motorcycles.

He says he knows Olaka Nwogu as a one time Chairman of Eleme local government.

"I know that anytime he comes into a contest, there must be a serious contest, by using intimidation and shooting of gun. That has been his style.

"In 2002, when he was in the House of Reps, I know he brought out a style by using J.O Nwogu who went around burning peoples' houses. Olaka has so much influence on military men.

He says J.O was the Eleme youth leader at the time.

"The police are with them that you don't have any room for questioning."

He says there has always been violence during elections in Eleme.

He says he would appreciate if the Commission can investigate the issues in Eleme and bring perpetrators to justice.

"Because of what happened, there was no election in Ogale."

12.43

Loveday Obare, Counsel to Eleme local government area, says he would call three witnesses

The first witness, Marcus Tetenwi, says he resides in Alesa-Eleme. He says he is the Chief Protocol Officer of Eleme local government area.

He says he is a member of the APC.

He says that on March 28th, there was a controversy as to the result sheets and moments later, three Hilux vans drove into the area with soldiers and one Olaka Nwogu, who was inside one of the the vehicles, pointed at him.

He says he quickly ran to his home, wanted to use his car, thought against it, and ran away; returning later to see that the soldiers who had followed him riddled the vehicle with bullets. He says he called a photographer and journalists to cover the incident.

He says he heard several gunshots from where he was hiding.

He tenders before the Commission a photo of his vehicle after the gunshots

"That very day, they (Mr. Nwogu and armed men) actually took over the whole scenario with military men by intimidating and harassing people.

"They were chasing me because I was demanding for the result sheet."

He says Mr. Nwogu have "evil antecedents" in Alesa-Eleme community.

"I was hiding inside my house when they were shooting at my vehicle. My mum and other women came out shouting 'do you want to kill him like you have been killing others.' I think that made him to relent and they went away."

He says a lot of persons were also demanding to see the result sheet on that election day.

"They wanted to commence the election in the absence of the result sheet, but I insisted that if there was no result sheet there would be no election day."

He says the polling unit is about 300 metres from his home. He says his assailants were wearing military uniforms but he does not if they were actual soldiers.

He says he only complained to his party and not the police. "Because during that election, some of us were scared because there is conspiracy between the police and the military men to work with Olaka Nwogu."

He says Mr. Nwogu belongs to the PDP.

He says he became Chief Protocol Officer in 2008 and was not a member of a political party at the time. He says he joined the APC in 2013.

He says he doesn't know if there were cult groups in Eleme.

"Olaka Nwogu should be questioned because there is no time he is vying for position that violence that does not happen. He has a lot of pending cases all over the place."



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