97 so far on election violence: Army hands over 67-year-old, 13 others to police in Rivers

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By Innocent Eteng

For alleged involvement in election-related violence, the 6 Division of the Nigeria Army in Rivers State has handed 14 persons to the police, including a 67 year-old man.

The suspects were handed over by Adeolu Kalejaye, a Brigadier General, on Wednesday, March 5, 2019 at the Army Headwaters in Port Harcourt.

According to Deputy Director of Public Relations, Aminu Iliyazu, a colonel, the suspects were arrested on February 23, 2019, during the presidential and national assembly elections in Port Harcourt and Abonnema in Akuku-Toru local Government Area.

He said the handover is to enable the police carry out further investigations and possibly prosecute those found to be culpable. “It’s usual practice for the Nigeria Army to hand over suspects arrested to the Nigeria Police. Today, again, we have 14 suspects who were arrested on 23 of February during the last presidential and national assembly elections for various offences which bother on violence.

“We are now here to hand them over to the Rivers State Police Command for further investigation and possible prosecution,” Iliyazu said.

BusinessDay recalls that this is the third batch of suspects the Army is handing over for investigations since the February 23 elections. A total of 83 suspects had earlier been handed over in two batches of 30 and 53. The new batch of 14 brings the total number to 97.

Iluyazu says the suspects are handed over in batches because: “We released them only when investigations or preliminary investigations are conducted and finished.”

Rivers State by this could be leading in the number of electoral offenders. In Bonny, elections did not even hold in the first place because over 400 youths blocked the centre where materials were kept, claiming they were fake. The results in Emohua were rejected because of violence and irregularities. It is a state where each party would produce its own result.

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