I wasn’t aware of Ogoni operation – Wike says

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said military operations in the state must have his approval.

The governor also said those who killed innocent Ogoni people and residents would be punished.

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Wike, who spoke during a visit to Ogoniland yesterday, said military authorities must subject itself to civil authority.
He added that as chief security officer, he was not informed of the operation leading to loss of lives of Ogoni residents.

He accused some politicians of instigating crisis in the state to create room for the declaration of a state of emergency.

The governor, who led the Commissioner of Police, Mr Musa Kimo and top police officers to Yeghe in Gokana Local Government and Bori, said: “The Rivers State government will take up this unfortunate incident with the appropriate authorities. The military must subject itself to civil authority. I am the chief security officer of this state. Before any deployment of soldiers, I should be informed, but in this case I was not aware.

“I will always support security agencies in the fight against criminals and criminality, but I will never support the killing of innocent persons.

That is why I am here today for an on-the-spot assessment. I have seen for myself the destruction in Yeghe and the killings that took place. I went to the mortuaries to see the bodies, and their relatives confirmed they were killed in the operation.

“I have told security agencies to be careful so they are not misled by politicians. As your governor, I have never used soldiers because I don’t need them. When I see people not in government moving around with soldiers, I am surprised. If you are popular with your people, you have no reason to move with soldiers.

“Those who masterminded these killings will face justice. They are busy causing crisis because of their evil plans to cause emergency rule to be declared in the state. Since they failed in my case, they will fail in others because God is greater than them.”

Wike noted that he had always advised the military to arrest criminals and hand them over to the police in line with the rules of engagement and not to take actions that would harm innocent citizens.

He denied ever making inflammatory statements, saying he only campaigned for his party.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, quoted Wike as urging those who fled their homes to return as his administration had taken measures restore sanity.

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