Governor Nyesom Wike and Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi were caught in accusations and counter accusations Saturday night as their convoys ran into each other in Port Harcourt, leading into a fracas.
Spokesmen of both Wike and Amaechi, who was governor between 2007 and 2015, traded claims of assassination attempt, but the clear victims were the policemen attached to Amaechi.
Sgt Eteng, who was beaten streamed blood on his face, while the AK-47 rifle of Sgt. Princewill Ubaji was taken away by the Rivers governor’s convoy.
Amaechi claimed his car was damaged in the encounter.
Simon Nwakaudu, spokesman of Governor Wike said his boss escaped assassination from Amaechi’s armed men, the same claim made by the APC spokesman in the state, who also said that an outrider of Wike’s convoy threatened Amaechi with a gun.
“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, said Simon Nwakaudu.
“The governor, who was on project inspection, was attacked at Nwanja 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 (ADC) to the minister of transportation, supervised the attack, which included damage of cameras held by journalists.
“Also part of the attack was the Commander of F-SARS in Rivers State, Mr. Akin Fakorede (a Chief Superintendent of Police), who received the minister of transportation at the Port Harcourt International Airport and accompanied him on his trip.”
Amaechi’s media office gave a different narrative of the incident, that brought back memories of convoy clashes between Amaechi as governor and Wike, when he was a minister of state for education and had the support of Federal Police.
Amaechi’s media office said the latest clash of convoys occurred on Trans-Amadi Road, Nwaja axis and involved cars of many of Amaechi’s supporters.
It said 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.
According to the statement “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. All through this attack, Amaechi remained calm, inside the fortified Jeep. While the attack occurred, Wike remained inside his vehicle.”
It added that 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 rifle was also taken from him.”
The Amaechi media office added that Wike came out of his car, and with his security team went from one vehicle to another of Amaechi’s supporters charging at them, harassing and abusing them.
It alleged that Wike’s security men were heard loudly insulting Amaechi and calling him derogative names.
In an earlier statement, the Rivers APC was emphatic that Wike’s outrider wanted to kill Amaechi, but for the fact that Amaechi was inside a bullet proof car.
“A report made available to us by an associate to Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who happened to be in the same car with the Minister indicates that Governor Wike’s outrider pulled a pistol to assassinate Rotimi Amaechi but missed his target after which Amaechi’s ADC, Debiwari intervened to save the Minister from further assassination attempt”, the APC claimed in a statement by Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze.
Tonye Princewill was further quoted to have said: “I am at a loss if this was not an assassination attempt on the Minister, somebody should explain to me in a clearer sentence why did the Wike’s despatch rider(outrider) failed to stop the two security vehicles of the Minister which had already crossed but decided for whatever reasons to block the vehicle in which the Minister was driving?
“Why was Amaechi who was behind the steering to navigate his vehicle out of danger accosted by two security men from the Governor’s convoy who had pulled out their pistol and gun to shoot him. Why did these men of darkness after realising that the vehicle that the Minister was driving was a Bullet Proof resort to hitting the jeep with the butt of their guns and in the process broke the right driving mirror and attempted to break Amaechi’s windscreen and after which he pulled his pistol to kill Amaechi?
The APC further claimed that after the failed attempt to kill the Minister, his escort team was assaulted by the CSO Government House SP Promise Wosu and Governor Wike along Trans Amadi road, Port Harcourt with the FSARS operatives on the Minister’s convoy dislodged and forcefully disposed off of one of their AK 47 Rifles.