The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has constituted a 15-man panel to unravel those behind the violence that marred the re-run legislative elections in Rivers State.
The committee, to be headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damien Okoro, has been given 30 days to submit its report as the I.G has assured the public that the Police would use all the resources at its disposal to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.
A press release by the Police on Thursday evening highlighted the talking points of the Inspector-General at the inauguration.
The statement reads:
THE INAUGURATION OF JOINT PANEL ON THE 10TH DECEMBER, 2016 RIVERS STATE RE-RUN ELECTIONS
IGP’s Talking Points
The sustenance of our democratic process is largely dependent upon the security and preservation of our electoral laws and guidelines by all stakeholders in our country Nigeria.
It was expected that the impressive and commendable successes recorded in the recent gubernatorial elections in Ondo and Edo states respectively was replicated in Rivers State during the recent re-run elections into the national and state legislative positions.
2. This opinion was further fuelled by the coordinated preparations put in place by the police and other security agencies including INEC relevant to the conduct of a smooth, hitch free, free and fair poll.
3. The election which was supposed to demonstrate our sustained growth and maturity as a democracy loving people, however, was rather unfortunately marred by noticeable infractions and isolated cases of violence which unfortunately resulted in the gruesome murder of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mohammed Alkali and Sergeant Peter Uchi in active duty. So far, four people have been arrested and two rifles recovered.
4. Against this backdrop, it has become imperative to set up a joint investigative panel to investigate the various infractions, incidents and violence that marred the December 10, 2016 re-run election in Rivers State. The panel consists of police officers and officers from the Department of State Services with vast knowledge in investigation, forensic analysis and technical expertise. The fifteen (15) man panel is headed by DCP Damien Okoro
5. The panel, which is to conduct its investigation in conjunction with a team from the Department of State Services (DSS) has the following terms of reference:
i. Conduct a thorough investigation into the role of security agents before, during and after the election;
ii. Examine the role of any Police Officer or security agent whose actions or activities individually or collectively was detrimental to the good conduct of the elections;
iii. Conduct a forensic analysis on the audio report released by Sahara Reporters as it concerns the election;
iv. Examine any other matter that is relevant to the conduct of the elections.
v. Make recommendations and implementation strategies to guide future elections and submit findings within thirty (30) days with effect from 17th December, 2016.
6. For the avoidance of doubt, the 1999 Constitution and other relevant laws empower the police to conduct investigations into criminal matters across the entire country.
7. In the final analysis, the police is an apolitical organization and must be insulated from politics. The interest of the police as always in the electoral process is to ensure a hitch free exercise and guarantee due process in accordance with international standards.
8. Therefore, I hereby use this opportunity to implore well-meaning Nigerians especially INEC, Rivers Sate Government to give the panel maximum support and cooperate with this investigative panel.
This I believe is in the overall interest and development of electoral process in Nigeria.
The Inspector General of Police uses this opportunity to solicit the support of all Nigerians in ensuring that the panel succeeds in its mandate.