The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, his counterparts in Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson; Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel and Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
Although the governors did not give details of what they discussed with the president, Seriake Dickson who spoke to journalists noted that they discussed issues of interest to their respective states and the country at large.
He described the meeting as robust, adding that the president promised to “look into the issues”.
The former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has challenged those in political leadership to commit to making a difference in the lives of the people.
Dr. Jonathan was speaking when he visited the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Also present during the visit were the Chief of Staff to the governor, Emeka Woke, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Kenneth Kobani and the Edo State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih.
The former President commended the governor for his developmental strides in the state, adding that Wike shared some similarities with him in terms of the desire to always make a difference when in office.
Thereafter, he expressed gratitude to Nigerians for accepting his person (Jonathan) even after leaving office.
The Nigeria Police Force has stated that there is no court order preventing it from investigating the alleged violence that occurred during the legislative rerun election in Rivers State.
A statement by the Force’s spokesman, CSP Jimoh Moshood, also affirmed that there was no directive stopping the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, from performing his statutory duties under the law.
Contrary to a report in the media, the Police maintained that the court said the force had the option to either continue with its investigation or not, pending the determination of the suit.
They added that the case was consequently adjourned to February 10, 2017.
The Police urged Nigerians to disregard the caption posted by news platform which they said was misleading, insisting that IGP Idris is committed to riding Nigeria of all forms of criminality within the ambit of the law.
What Transpired In Court
The Police statement reads: “The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to an online/social media publication by Breaking Times on January 31, 2017 captioned ‘HIGH COURT STOPS THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE FROM PROBING RIVERS STATE RE-RUN VIOLENCE’.
“The said publication, which is in respect of an ongoing Civil Suit NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/13/2017 between the Governor of Rivers State (Mr Nyesom Wike) and the Inspector General of Police, pending at the Federal High Court Abuja, purportedly claimed that ‘the Federal High Court has asked the Inspector General of Police to maintain status quo in the investigation of the violence that rocked Rivers State during the Re-Run Legislative Election on December 10, 2016’ among others.
“It is however, pertinent to make the following clarifications in order to keep the general public informed of what transpired in court on January 30, 2017 when the case came up for hearing: a. That counsel to the Inspector General of Police raised a preliminary objective to the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the motion, b. That the counsel to the Governor of Rivers State informed the court that the needed time respond to both the counter affidavit and the preliminary objection.
“The court, however observed that the Nigeria Police Force has the option to either continue with their investigation or not, pending the determination of the suit. The case was then adjourned to February 10, 2017.
A Misleading Caption
“In the light of the above, it is very clear that the Federal High Court has not in any way stopped the Nigeria Police Force from investigating the alleged violence during the said rerun election in Rivers State. In this regard, no order was given by the court stopping the Inspector General of Police from performing his statutory duties under the law.
“Consequently, the caption posted by Breaking Times is misleading and should be disregarded by the public. A careful perusal of the full content of the said publication reveals the true outcome of the Justice Kolawole’s ruling. It only goes to show that the motive behind such a caption is to draw attention of the public.
“The Inspector General of Police wishes to restate his unalloyed commitment to rid the country of all forms of criminality bearing in mind the obligation of the Force within the ambit of the law.”
Senator Magnus Abe has asked lawmakers elected under the All Progressives Congress (APC) that are yet to be sworn in in Rivers State House of Assembly to match to the assembly and take their seats if the speaker fails to swear them in.
He told Channels Television that there was no provision in the constitution that required a swearing in before a member could function in the legislature.
According to him, “swearing in is just a ceremony”.
Senator Abe, representing Rivers South East Senatorial District, said the option became expedient following what he called the insistence of Governor Nyesom Wike that the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly would not swear them in.
“If the Speaker will not swear them in, they will match into the House of Assembly and take their place because they have been returned,” he insisted.
Right To Participate
Senator Abe condemned the decision of the Governor of Rivers State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to swear in the duly elected APC members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, describing it as rascality and impunity.
“This kind of rascality and impunity that we are experiencing in Rivers State will not be allowed and tolerated,” he told reporters.
Senator Abe urged well-meaning Nigerians to condemn the actions of the governor, claiming it could derail democracy.
He contended that swearing-in of members of the House was not constitutional but ceremonial, arguing that in the absence of the swearing-in, the elected legislators have the right to participate in the deliberations.
“There is no constitutional requirement for swearing-in lawmakers in the country. It is a ceremony, which the Speaker may perform if he so chooses. If he chooses not to swear them in, that cannot in anyway de-ligitimise their membership of the House of Assembly. So, the Speaker has a choice.
“He can swear them in, which is what he is expected to do as the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly or he can refuse and they will go into the House of Assembly and take their seats without his permission because he has no right to sit as a tribunal over the return of any legislator,” he added.
The Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike, says the government and people of the state will not be party to the police ‘phoney’ probe panel established to look into the re-run legislative election in the state and violence that marred the processes on some areas.
He is alleging that the Police cannot deliberately murder Rivers people in cold blood and turn around to investigate.
Governor Wike claims that the probe on the re-run election had a predetermined goal, which he said was to indict members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and commence their politically motivated prosecution.
He spoke on Sunday at the Victory Thanksgiving Mass of the PDP at Our Lady Chaplaincy of the Catholic Institute of West Africa for a successful re-run legislative and supplementary elections.
He said: “We are not a party to their so-called panel. We have passed that stage and we cannot fall into the trap of a panel of inquiry.
“After killing our people, you want us to assist you unravel what? It is the police that killed our people”.
The governor wondered why the police would claim they want to investigate issues surrounding the Rivers re-run elections, when it was one of the interested parties involved in the attempt to subvert the will of the people.
He pointed out that it was the Police High Command that refused to prosecute the chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caught on camera printing fake result sheets ahead of the December 10 election.
He added that Petitions to the Police High Command on the negative activities of ACP’s Steven Hasso and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Mr Akin Fakorede were disregarded.
Onslaught Of ‘Federal Might’
The governor noted that even when Akin Fakorede was videoed beating up electoral officers at the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation centre, the police swept it under the carpet.
“If it is a country that believes in its image, so many people would have lost their jobs. They cannot ask themselves why 28,000 policemen, yet to be ascertained number of soldiers, Police Dogs and Horses, gunboats and helicopters could not police ordinary legislative elections.
“It is because the police were the ones committing the fraud, violence and election materials snatching. We are accusing the police of mass murder and they turn around to set up a panel of inquiry.
“After killing our people, you fraudulently set a panel of inquiry. Up till now they don’t know that we are far ahead. This panel is a mere booby trap to indict PDP Members. If they cared about lives, they wouldn’t do what they did,” Mr Wike pointed out.
The governor said that Rivers State survived the onslaught of the ‘federal might’ because of God’s grace and intervention.
“We are here to thank God for the victory He has given Rivers State. We came out from a battle and God was our leader during the fight. We owe God a lot,” he said.
In his sermon, Reverend Pius Kii prophesied that the coalition of forces would never defeat Rivers State.
The thanksgiving service was attended by PDP Leaders, Senators, House of Representatives members, House of Assembly members and Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen.
Meanwhile, a former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, described as baseless, claims that results were manipulated to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Amaechi denied the allegations that the APC was using delayed tactics to tamper with the results in areas where candidates of the PDP were in the clear lead.
A statement from his media office stated that apart from the fact that the minister was not aware of what Governor Wike was talking about, the governor must allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collate and announce results of the rerun elections.
“As governor, Wike cannot be INEC or dictate to INEC how and when to announce election results, it’s sad that Wike is desecrating the office of the governor with all his spurious allegations,” the statement read.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the various security agencies, as well as political party leaders and their candidates have met again in continuous efforts to ensure that Saturday’s rerun polls in Rivers state are hitch-free.
With the poll already generating tension, the Deputy Inspector General Of Police in Charge of Operations, Joshak Habila, said no group would be allowed to cause violence during the exercise.
Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Aniedi Ikoiwak, has equally given the assurance that the commission is ready for the polls.
The emphasis is coming as a result of series of allegations by the Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike, who has said INEC, as well as security agencies have planned to rig the elections.
INEC in an earlier statement, however pointed out that the recent Edo and Ondo governorship elections “eloquently speak of the feat that can be achieved if all stakeholders do the needful”.
The Commission, then condemned the relentless false allegations, provocative and dangerous comments being made by some political actors, especially Mr Wike, against the Commission, which it insisted were capable of inciting people to commit violent acts that could derail the election.
The Nigeria Police Force has given reasons for the redeployment of the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Promise Nwosu, which Governor Nyesom Wike has raised concerns over.
A statement by the forces’ spokesman, Don Awunah, explained that the police official was redeployed after he was found to be partisan and in open affiliation with a political party in the state.
In what the police called ‘gross professional misconduct’, the Police statement said that on November 17, 2016, during peaceful demonstrations of an opposition party in the state, All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Nwosu was found among the protesting party faithfuls in a manner prejudicial to discipline and displaying conduct unexpected of an officer of his calibre and office.
“The active presence of the CSO to the governor in a partisan crowd of an opposition party to the governor in a clandestine and suspicious manner was considered mischievous and detrimental to the security of the state and public order and also contrary to his oath of office which constitute an offence against discipline.
“The CSO to the governor, when challenged by a superior officer demonstrated brazen indiscipline and showed disrespect to the senior officer, exhibiting conduct that violates all known norms of the force.
“Accordingly, the CSO was officially queried for discreditable conduct, insubordination, engaging in partisan political activities, illegal duty and act unbecoming of a public officer,” the statement read.
It added that as a result of such gross misconduct and apparent partisanship, the Inspector General of Police ordered the redeployment of the CSO pending further disciplinary action.
The police spokesman said that an investigative inquiry into the officer’s open engagement in political activities, disrespect to senior officers and unethical practices had been constituted.
The police further stated that Governor Wike was at liberty to select any officer of his choice from the strength of the command to serve as his CSO.
It, however, warned that under no circumstance should any officer abandon the security of his principal and legitimate duties to engage in direct partisan politics or conversely should any political office holder use police officers attached to them for political machinations.
The All Progressives Congress, (APC), has raised alarm over alleged stockpiling of arms and ammunition by the Rivers state government, led by the Governor Nyesom Wike, ahead of the legislative rerun elections.
In a statement signed by the National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, the APC called on security operatives to be on the alert.
The party also described the recent pronouncement by the governor over alleged withdrawal of his security aids and an assassination threat on his life, as diversionary tactics meant to deflect attention from reports of an arms build up and other sinister plots by the Wike-led administration.
The Rivers state police command has stated that the force would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the December 10, 2016 legislative elections in the state is free, fair, credible and violence free.
This was according to the commissioner of Police, Francis Odesanya, during a stakeholders meeting of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some candidates of political parties in the state.
On the other hand, the Resident Electoral Commissioner Aniedi Ikoiwak, said the commission is ready to conduct the polls credibly, while also stating that sensitive materials would begin to move to the various units and constituencies where elections will be concluded.
The INEC had also said it would ensure that the concluding part of legislative election in Rivers State, is conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
This is coming few days after the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had accused the Rivers state police command for giving security details to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the rerun elections.
He told his supporters that by such action, the force had declared that the command is not ready for a free and fair election to be conducted.