A Legal Practitioner, Idaye Opi, who was in Port Harcourt when the Police raid of the ‘Save Rivers Movement’ rally occurred on Sunday, January 12, has thrown more light on the role of the Police in the issue.
Contributing to Channels Television breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Tuesday, via telephone, Opi clarified that by his observation of the overwhelming view in the city, the Police used only tear gas to disperse the crowd, as there was no bullet.
He also said that the Police, asides saying that the organisers had no permit, also claimed that they got reports that some people were planning to invade and cause mayhem at the rally.
The Police stated that the way and manner the organisers went about their activities, it may have degenerate into skirmish, but Opi also noted that the Police did not act right.
He said: “We are not in the State of Emergency in Rivers State.”
He reiterated his position in the state as “not being an Amaechi apologist. “In this instance, I believe that the Police was very wrong, as nobody needs a police permit for a public gathering.”
He argued that labour unions, political parties, churches and other organizations could organise rallies without such demands being made of them.
Opi added that if indeed the Police had fears that the event was going to degenerate into a breakdown of law and order, they should have gone to watch over them in order to step in when they sense trouble approaching.
A Lawyer and Journalist, Richard Akinola, has joined the group of Nigerians who are against the Rivers State Police raid of the ‘Save Rivers Movement’ rally on Sunday, January 12, 2014, but not without some warning for the Nigerian media.
Akinola noted on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ that by the laws of Nigeria, the Police do not have any right to stop anyone from gathering.
He explained this by citing the case of the Inspector-General of Police vs. ANPP, in which sections of the Public Order Act had been declared null and void by the court, due to its inconsistency with the provisions of Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution, which gives a right of Peaceful Assembly to every Nigerian.
He noted that if the Police according to their claims, indeed had fears that the rally could have degenerated into a crisis, the criminal code was enough to cover for their act of stepping in to prevent the degeneration, and not totally disrupting the holding of the gathering itself.
People are only meant to notify Police about their actions for the purpose of coverage and not to obtain permit; in the case of ‘Save Rivers Movement’ rally organisers, their claim that they informed the Police in a letter to apply for security already amounted to a notification.
Akinola also said that the relationship between the organisers and the Police could have been more civil, recalling several protests he had been part of, in which the Police played what he believed to be their expected role.
He submitted, “This is all politics, and unfortunately the Rivers State Commissioner of Police is too involved in the politics of Rivers State.” He likened the situation to the case of former Anambra State Governor, Senator Chris Ngige, during his tenure as the Governor, when the Anambra State Commissioner of Police was also a prominent feature in his tussle to keep his position.
He alleged that the plan of the perpetrators is to push Rivers State into a State of Emergency, but “This is not about Amaechi, it is about principle, and true democracy.”
Akinola was however reminded that the Rivers Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, had worked in other states and with other governors without any problems, but he dismissed the claims saying that whatever his claims were, do not match up with what Nigerians have seen him do in Rivers State.
In further nullifying CP Mbu’s claims, he cited the case of the arrest of Rivers lawmaker, Chidi Lloyd, for murder. He wondered why the Police went straight to accuse him of murder when the case of manslaughter should have been the first consideration. He alleged that despite revealations that Chidi Lloyd was not the one who drove the car, with the driver having made a statement to that effect, the Police has been keeping those details from the people.
He said, “I feel disappointed in the Inspector-General of Police particularly…because I have been a silent supporter of his ideals.”
He noted that whether an event is tagged rally or gathering, the rights to peaceful assembly has been provided for, in Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution. We need to “Remove this military hangover and allow democracy to grow.”
A Channels Television viewer however brought another angle into the discussion with his contribution; a certain Dr. Bright questioned the validity of Senator Magnus Abe’s claims on the severity of his injury during the raid, as he was of the opinion that politicians take advantage of such issues to seek public sympathy.
Akinola agreed with the view on Magnus Abe, explaining that he did not feel that rubber bullet could have been shot at the Senator when the Nigerian Police was not known to use rubber bullets. He explained that what hit him may have been the canister of the tear gas. He however believed that the tear gas was indeed shot at close range.
He then berated the role of the Nigerian media in the heated political atmosphere in Rivers State and the entire country, as there were too many interests from the media. He said that he could almost tell where a story was coming from and its underlining interest, just by looking at the headline.
He warned, “Let’s be frank, the media is part of the problem and there needs to be some soul searching in the media, otherwise the media would have been totally destroyed by 2015.”
He added, “We should be very careful as a people, and never make any mistake that would allow the military to come back because the damages they made were enormous.”
Capital Market analyst, Zik Obi, has claimed that there are lots of incompetent hands in the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Legal Practitioner who was on our breakfast show Sunrise daily said the Director general of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh is very much qualified for the position even though the House of Representatives are claiming she is not.
According to the market analyst, a lot of workers in the commission would have loved to rise to the exalted position following Ms Oteh’s suspension, “so there is probably a foul play somewhere because a lot of issues will probably be uncovered with her continued stay in the office hence the protection of individual interest” he argued.
Mr Obi further adds that SEC has been in a bad shape and Ms Oteh is doing or has done a job, warning that her removal will/may further damage the commission’
Mr. Zik Obi a capital market analyst and legal practitioner has described the cashless policy and the proposed N5000 note as ‘coming at a very wrong time’.
According to the him, it is very wrong to launch the two polices without any sensitization of any kind.
He urge the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the proposed introduction of N5000 note.
Mr. Zik decried the failure of the apex bank to work with the National Assembly on the N5000 note proposal and warned there’s a lot of problems economically which remain unsolved for CBN than to bother Nigerians with the introduction of new N500o note.
Looking back at the Capital Market Probe that was held some time ago in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to deal with issues surrounding the near collapse of the NSE/SEC.It was full of drama and one which took the center stage was the allegation levelled against the former Chairman of the probe panel, Herman Hembe by the D.G. SEC, Arunma Oteh which led to the removal and prosecution of the former chairman of the panel, now the issue is that can the probe panel chairman who took over from Hembe deliver?
A lawyer and Capital Market analyst; Zik Obi on the Capital Market said the report released by the probe panel on Capital Market was greeted with mixed reactions, in that some people were disappointed while some were not but in his own view, the House of Representatives did not do a good job as it was as if they were on vengeance mission, that is to deal with the SEC D.G., Arunma Oteh.