(By Chris K. Amadi) -The clash between the convoy of former governor of Rivers State and Nigeria’s serving Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State at Waja junction in Port Harcourt on Saturday has been described as a traffic incident which was badly handled by the officers involved, and not an assassination attempt.
The clarification came from the Rivers State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, who also hinted that the affected Special Anti-Robbery Squad officers and the governor’ security aide have been invited by the Police authorities in the state and made written statements on the matter.
The Rivers Police Command’s spokesman however assured that the commissioner of police will not be distracted, but remains committed to performing his duties in a professional manner, while calling on the public to continue to trust and support the police as they strategise to ensure a crime free 2017 Yuletide season.
Earlier, Special Anti-Robbery officers, SARS, and soldiers attached to the Minister of Transportation have been accused of attacking Governor Wike’s convoy.
A statement issued by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media on Saturday had stated that the governor escaped assassination attempt from the hands of the Minister of Transportation, who had over 50 SARS personnel, soldiers and Mobile Policemen in his motorcade.
“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 Waja 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, to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, supervised the attack, which included damage of cameras held by journalists .
“Also part of the attack, was the Commander of Rivers SARS, Mr Akin Fakorede who received the Minister of Transportation at the Port Harcourt International Airport and accompanied on his trip.
After the attack, according to the statement, the Governor Wike, who was unharmed continued with his inspection of projects.
In their own reaction on Saturday, Amaechi’s media office in Port Harcourt had alleged that the governor’s security pulled guns on the minister and vandalised his car.
“In a blatant show of naked raw power, Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi this 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.
“The incident occurred in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, along Trans-Amadi road, Waja axis. The Minister had arrived Port Harcourt this afternoon.
“Accompanied by cars of many of his supporters, 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. One of the two cars had security men assigned to protect the minister in Port Harcourt. Suddenly, gun-totting 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 attacked occurred, Wike remained inside his vehicle.
“The Minister eventually passed through after the intervention of the security team on ground to protect him in Port Harcourt. 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 statement further explained.
It would be recalled that, Rt. Hon. Amaechi and Governor Wike are engaged in fierce supremacy battle for the sole of the Rivers State politics, and tension appears to be rising as the 2019 elections get closer.
Incidentally, the cold war which has been raging in various courts, it would seem, broke out in the open last Saturday when the minister’s vehicle knocked down the governor’s Motorcycle Outrider’s machine, a development that heightened emotions on both sides, followed by claims and counter claims of assassination attempts.