Group Accuses Police Of Causing Political Imbalance In Rivers State

The Coordinator of the Save Rivers Movement, Igo Aguwa, has accused the Rivers State Police Command of causing political imbalance in the state and allowing itself to be used as an instrument of impunity against the Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Aguwa traced the history of such situations to 1965, “when the Akintola led Action Group refused that the NCNC campaign in western Nigeria. In 1966 thereafter, there was a coup. You remember also in 1982, we had Adewusi as the Inspector General of Police, where the mobile police was used which led to the acronym, Kill And Go.”

He alleged that the Police Command led by Joseph Mbu, disrupted the inauguration of the NGO and also refused to provide security when hoodlums raided the rally in Khana local government because they were loyal to the opponents of the State Governor, who had staged rallies to promote the leader’s weaknesses in office.

“We believe that everybody should have a level playing field where people can sell their programme, their ideas and let the electorate decide.”

“We are only sensitising on the programmes, the positives and even receiving criticisms to act better,” he said.

CP Mbu had accused the group of campaigning without permission from the electoral umpire, INEC, but according to the former House of Reps member, campaigning as defined in the Electoral Act “talks about people campaigning for elective positions.

“That does not mean that the parties will be docile until anytime there’s an election.”

He continued by saying: “It’s getting to the election period, let’s face it. That is why the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) has been going around in Rivers State, selling the negative ideas of the government and highlighting the weak points” adding that “nobody is perfect.”

“In that same way, Save Rivers Movement is going around highlighting the positive parts of the government so that you don’t have only the negative perceptions out there in the market.”

Aguwa expressed fears that “what is happening in Rivers state is capable of undermining democracy in Nigeria.”

He admitted that the SRM was on a campaign to neutralize the perceptions being spread by Governors Amaechi’s opposition. “The SRM believes that the government has done well and our ideal is on promoting good governance,” he said.

Asked why the group is carrying out political activities using the NGO as cover, Mr Aguwa said “the truth of the matter is, an NGO could be politically inclined, could be health inclined. It could have any inclination but the important thing is we are not sponsored by government.”

He added that “it is within our rights within the constitution to have that NGO.”

He advocated that the group be given a level playing field as the State Police Command led by Joseph Mbu, had given protection to the opposition group, GDI, the same day the SRM rally was disrupted.

“The field is not level. What is titling the field right now is the impunity of the police,” he said.

He countered arguments that political gatherings are banned until INEC gives permission, adding that only campaigns for political offices are not allowed.

He stated that the bad blood between the Police Command and the group was a recent development as he had met with the Police Commissioner, as a friend, before the Obiakpor rally which was disrupted. “There was no indication that that would happen,” he added.

 

 

 

 

#SaveRiversRally: Police Area Command Was 400 Meters Away

The Chairman of Eleme local government area in Rivers State, Oji Ngofa, on Monday alleged that a Police Area Command was 400 meters away from the venue of the Save Rivers Movement (SRM)rally which was marred by violence on Sunday, wondering why officers of the Force did not come to the rescue.

“The venue of the rally was not up to 400 meters from the Bori Area Command but police didn’t do anything and the hoodlums (from wherever they came from) started shooting, chasing people away, damaging property and all that,” he said.

Ngofa whose LG is near to Khana Local Government, where the attack occurred, disclosed that problem started at about 4 AM on Sunday morning when the hoodlums started shooting and then returned when organisers of the rally started setting up.

“There was no way they would say that they didn’t hear the gunshots,” Ngofa said, adding that efforts of the SRM to secure police assistance yielded nothing.

However, the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu told Channels Television via a telephone interview that the group did not invite the Police and also did not request security presence for the rally.

In response, Mr Ngofa said “that is not true” because the same letter written to the Police, seeking security, last week covered two events including Sunday’s rally.

On allegations that the group was trying to stage campaign rallies, Ngofa said the mission of the Movement was to “promote good governance.”

Although the identity of the attackers remains unknown, Ngofa said residents of Khana local government would be able to point out the perpetrators.

Contrary to claims by the State Police Commissioner, Mbu, Mr Ngofa disclosed that the group had made attempts at informing the police of the event beforehand. He added that the lawyer of the group, Ken Asuette went to the Police command on Friday to remind the Force of the rally which was to hold on Sunday.

He further stated that the refusal of the Police to do its job indicates that they are lying and playing games.

“It is a gang up to bring a reign of terror on Rivers people.”

Members Of Save Rivers Movt. Are Victims Of Political Megalomania – Mbu

The Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Joseph Mbu, has accused the members of the Save Rivers Movement, a non-governmental organisation, of being victims of ‘political megalomania’ for being bold enough to stage yet another rally on Sunday despite the mayhem which occurred at their programme, last week.

“They (SRM) are trying to tell the world that they are really victims of political megalomania. They are power drunk,” he said adding that the decision of the SRM to go ahead with its rally despite the mayhem which occurred last week is a bold attempt at telling people that “they are still in control.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, via a telephone interview, Mr Mbu responded to claims that the Police did not rush to the scene of the rally when armed hoodlums attacked citizens and destroyed property, including Channels Television’s Open Broadcast Van and bus.

Mr Mbu who had been in the eye of public after ordering his men to disrupt the rally last week based on the argument that he did not grant permission for the event to hold, insisted that the Police was not invited to ensure law and order at Sunday’s event.

On the botched rally of last week, the CP said “I sent men as early as 5 0’clock to dominate and take over that premises.” However, “that of yesterday, nobody applied to the Police. It was about 4 hours later that the area commander called me and said that the Chairman of the local government went to his office to report that hoodlums invaded where they were going to hold the rally and everything was scattered.… I told him that this Save Rivers Movement is government instrument. They feel they are above the law and if you know that you are above the law and a thing of that nature happens, you should go and contact the thugs to go and fight for you. You don’t need to come to the police station because you think you are above the law.”

He continued by saying “If they had applied to us and we have considered the security location and that the place is safe, I would have approved and I would have given them enough policemen.”

Describing the group as disorganized and lacking respect for law and order, he further alleged that “the policemen who were shooting there were the orderly of the Chairman of the Local Government and four other policemen brought in by the Commissioner for Works.”

The Commissioner of Police assured that investigations are on-going and promised that “whoever authorised such policemen is going to be disciplined, whether he is a civil commissioner or he’s a police officer.”

He said the Police was not aware of the mayhem but only deployed “a unit of conventional policemen as well as a unit of mobile policemen” after a report was made at the station.

He also hinted that the Police will not rule out possibilities that the group was involved in the fracas. “Sometimes, the person who commits the offence is the one who cries foul,” he said.

“The information we have is that the policemen attached to the DPO and to the Chairman and the ones attached to the Commissioner for Works were responsible for the shooting but we are investigating it.”

“We are the police and we are in charge of security and order. If anybody is in distress and calls us, whether you have made a mistake or not, we must come there to salvage and then to save your life. We were not invited. We were invited only after the destruction had been done and we don’t know who did that destruction.”

JTF gun down 14 suspected kidnappers in Rivers

The Joint Task Force have killed 13 members of a gang suspected of abducting a Turkish man in an early morning raid on their hideout in oil-producing Rivers state, police said on Saturday.

A 20 million naira ($127,600) ransom was paid for the release of Bayram Karakus, who worked for the Rivigo Construction company, Rivers police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam told a news agency.

He gave no details of what happened to the Turkish man.

“A combined team of operatives … stormed the militant camp of a notorious gang also responsible for kidnapping, armed robbery, killing of policemen and civilians in the recent past,” Ugwuegbulam said.

“In the ensuing gun battle six of the hoodlums were fatally wounded … seven of the wounded died on the way to hospital.”

Ugwuegbulam said the police recovered N98,900, the bags used to deliver the ransom, six AK 47 rifles and ammunition in the raid on Friday.

The raid was said to be carried out around 2:50 AM in Kaani community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.