As the drama surrounding the recent recant by executive director of the Integrity Group, Livingstone Wechie continues to reverberate across Rivers State, facts are emerging as to the underpinnings of that volte-face by the self-acclaimed activist.
Aside the claims by Wechie, there are indications that certain clandestine factors prompted him to go public with his new position on his allegations against the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the state.
According to Wechie, the whole scenario was planned and executed by him including the idea to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the sale of some assets belonging to the state by Justice George Omereji. He averred that he and his group recently discovered that the documents made available to them by Wike and his men were not authentic as they were all forged.
These revelations threw the media community into frenzy as different angles to the development rent the media space. Appearing later on a radio station, Wechie alleged that the series of failed attempts to assassinate him by Wike forced him to go public with the recant.
Recall that on Thursday, November 12, 2015, Wechie was allegedly manhandled by individuals said to be his fellow activists in the Integrity Group, who reported felt he short-changed them in the proceeds of their campaign to stop Amaechi from being confirmed as minister.
A reliable source confided in TNN that Wechie and his group allegedly received an initial sum of N50 million from an unnamed official of the state government for the job. But he was to later collect another sum of N50 million as balance, after the said job was executed, but without sharing it with them.
The source said he went underground thereafter and could not be reached by any of his co-travelers. But somehow, luck ran out of him, when one of them sighted him at a drinking joint somewhere at Mgbuosimini area of Port Harcourt and quickly alerted the rest. He was reportedly manhandled by them only for some policemen to come to his rescue.
But surprisingly, Wechie, through his lawyer, Eugene Odeh, slammed a N500 million suit against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), adding as co-defendants, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the state commissioner of police, and the three policemen.
The matter which was instituted before Justice Uche Agomoh at Federal High Court 4, Port Harcourt was however adjourned to 27th of January, 2016 following vacation by the courts.
TNN checks show that the said highly placed official of the state government, alongside his close friends have been mounting pressure on Wechie to disburse the money to his colleagues to no avail. Owing to his failure, attempts were made at different times on his life but he somehow escaped.
With the increasing pressure mounting around and his safety becoming threatened, he was said to have turned to some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state for protection. His overtures were however treated with skepticism.
A top official of the party in the state, who would not be named, confirmed to TNN that “he actually reached out to us but how could we have taken him seriously after all he did against our leader? He talked about attempts on his life and how he was no longer safe in Port Harcourt but we were indifferent.”
The official said that “somehow, he got across to some very senior chieftains of the party, who asked that we hear him out. It was, however, decided that, as part of the process of according him any serious attention, he must recant his allegations against the Honourable Minister. At that point he left and we didn't hear from him until that day he appeared on Gbenga's programme.”
Wechie would not confirm or refute this to TNN when contacted. He refused to take his calls and also did not respond to messages sent to his mobile line.
In another development, a senior official of one of the security agencies hinted TNN that they had been directed to provide close surveillance of the activist due to security reports which raised fears about his safety. The official said action was being taken on that already.