Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, yesterday, took their battle for supremacy to the street of Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Both men gave conflicting accounts of the incident which occurred at Trans Amadi Road, by Nwanja Junction. Wike called the confrontation a bid to assassinate him. Scene of the attack on the convoy of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike by soldiers and SARS Personnel attached to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on Saturday at Wanja junction on the Trans-Amadi road in Port Harcourt Amaechi, on his part, said he was nearly shot by the governor’s security aides.
Since Wike succeeded Amaechi in 2015 as governor of Rivers, both men had engaged in political war.
In the governor’s account of yesterday’s incident, he claimed to have escaped assassination attempt as soldiers and men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, allegedly in the convoy of Amaechi, attacked his convoy.
A statement by his media aide, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, immediately after the clash, said the incident happened when the governor was inspecting ongoing road construction job at Trans Amadi Road.
The statement alleged that the governor’s outrider was hit by the Minister’s convoy and the policemen in the pilot car attacked. Wike, according to the statement, was not hurt, as he continued with his inspection of the road project after the incident.
Amaechi’s account of the clash, which came later at night, detailed in a statement entitled, ‘Wike’s security men pull guns on Amaechi, vandalise his car’, described the incident as a blatant show of naked raw power. According to the statement, the Minister narrowly escaped being shot by security men attached to Wike. “His car wasn’t that lucky though. The car was vandalized with a broken side mirror”, the statement said.“The statement went on:
“The incident occurred in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, along Trans-Amadi road, Nwaja 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-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. Wike and Amaechi 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. ““This is a crass show of high handedness, arbitrary behaviour and abuse of public office by a State governor who has no care for the safety of Rivers people”.
Efforts to get the spokesman for the 6 Division, Nigerian Army in Port-Harcourt, Colonel Aminu Ilyasu, and the police to comment on the incident were futile. At press time, Ilyasu did not respond to a text message from our correspondent to him. But the spokesperson for the police in Rivers State, DSP Omoni Nnamdi, told Sunday Vanguard he was waiting for information on the incident, promising to get back. He never did.
“I will get back to you please”, he said in a text message. Yesterday’s incident was not the first time Wike and Amaechi would confront each other on Port-Harcourt street. The two men almost clashed at the Mile One Police Station in March last year when a female staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mrs Ekwi Adebisa, deployed to Ward 10, PHALGA, was taken to the station over allegations bordering on attempt to tamper with then election process.
It took efforts of security men at the station to calm the supporters of both men. They have also been locked severally in war of words, throwing weighty allegations at each other, some touching on sponsorship of political violence.“