Senator Magnus Abe has reacted to the demise of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Francis Odesanya, who died in India after a brief illness.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt and signed by his spokesman, Mr Parry Benson, the lawmaker said he was shocked when he heard about the death of the fine and gallant police officer.
He described the late commissioner as a true professional who carried out his duties with sense of responsibility, commitment and diligence.
Senator Abe, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), regretted that “Mr Odesanya could die at this critical period of our national life when his professional service, competence and capabilities are needed in containing threats to national security and ensuring crime free society”.
He added that the deceased was a patriot who was principled, dogged and brave in fighting crime, stressing that the people of Rivers State would miss his efforts dearly.
The former Secretary to the Rivers State Government condoled with the family of the late police officer for the loss of their bread winner, as well as the government and people of Ogun State.
He prayed that God would give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Death Mr Odesanya’s death was announced by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, in a statement signed by the spokesman for the Police, CSP Jimoh Moshood.
He passed on at Sterling Hospital Ahmedabad-Gujarat in India, aged 56 after a brief illness.
The late Commissioner of Police was enlisted into the Force on February 1, 1986 as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police and rose through the ranks.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says the State Commissioner of Police has withdrawn majority of policemen providing security for him.
The alleged withdrawal of security aides is coming just as the state is preparing to hold its legislative election re-run on December 10.
Governor Wike gave a hint of the withdrawal while flagging off the reconstruction of the Igbo-Etche Road on Friday.
He claimed it was a deliberate security infraction orchestrated to intimidate him, but also expressed confidence that it would not succeed.
The Governor said: “As I speak with you, the Commissioner of Police has withdrawn the security around me. It is God that will protect me.
“As a governor, the Commissioner of Police has the effrontery to withdraw my security. There is no limit to this kind of intimidation and impunity”.
He said despite the assault by the Commissioner of Police and the Security Agencies, nobody in Rivers State would be intimidated by the political antics of the police.
The governor informed the gathering that he had intercepted the security manual for the election to be used by Rivers State Police Command.
According to him, “the Rivers State Police Command will deploy policemen in a manner that APC leaders in the state will have access to disproportionate number of policemen on election day”.
He noted that on the average, the police command will attach at least 15 policemen to one APC leader, for the purpose of intimidation and theft of electoral materials.
Governor Wike further claimed that some of the policemen would also be used by the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) to divert election materials to the home of APC leaders for electoral fraud.
He advised the Rivers State Police Commissioner not to allow APC leaders to mislead him into committing electoral fraud.
He also warned the police commissioner against indiscriminate arrests being proposed by APC leaders on the premise of frivolous petitions.
The Governor Also told youths in the state to protect their votes and the mandate of the people, despite the planned deployment of security personnel for illegal electoral purposes.
He assured the Etche Ethnic Nationality that the time had come for massive developmental interventions in the area.
Meanwhile the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Francis Odesanya, has denied withdrawing Governor Wike’s security aides, saying the Governor had over 200 policemen attached to him
He expressed shock over the claims of the governor and told Channels Television’s correspondent Emmanuel Ereyi, that the appropriate channel of complaint was not used, which according to him, was the Inspector General of Police.
Mr Odesanya highlighted that it was beyond his office to withdraw the security details of the governor.
“How can the governor say that kind of thing? Can the governor’s security details be removed by a commissioner? The man has over 200 policemen attached to him and not a single soul has been removed.
“The governor even recently requested for more which had been sent to him. How can he choose a rally or the flag-off of the reconstruction of a road to make such comments? The appropriate channel is to write to the inspector general of police or the president. Please I am here to do police work not politics,” he added.
Weeks after an attack on Rex Lawson water-front community in Borikiri of Rivers State, a family is still in grief, with their child still missing.
Residents and the Rivers State Police Command have continued to trade blames over the incident that led to the destruction of cars, property with one building burnt.
While residents insist that the destruction was done by men of the Police Command, the Commissioner of Police said the community had been harbouring the alleged cultists who wreaked the havoc.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Emmanuel Ereyi, visited the area to see how people have been getting along since the incident occurred.
He said although calm has since returned to the area, signs of destruction are still visible, as wasted property were seen littered around, with residents counting their losses.
A case in point was Mr and Mrs Sunny Andrew who are still searching for their only son, a seven-year-old boy. They say he has been missing since the attack.
The grieving mother blames their ordeal on the police.
She said: “We were sleeping when a group of men who wore police uniforms broke into our house, chased us out and set the house ablaze. All of us fled in different directions. I am still looking for my son”.
The father of the missing boy, Sunny Andrew, is also not on the same page with those who said it was the result of a cult clash, as earlier stated by the police.
The Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Francis Odesanya, who spoke exclusively to Channels Television said that the community had been harbouring cultists and a battle of supremacy led to the destruction.
According to him, a leader of one of the groups, who escaped with gunshot injuries, has since died.
“His body has been recovered and the two police riffles have also been found,” he said.
Mr Odesanya advised residents to go about their lawful duties, as the police were on top of the matter.
One of the 14 persons kidnapped by gunmen yesterday around Elele axis in Rivers State has escaped from the hands of the assailants.
This is according to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Francis Odesanya.
The CP, who told our correspondent that the victims are oil workers, wondered why the driver carried on even after their security escorts had stopped to fuel their vehicles.
He, however, said his men have been on the trail of the kidnappers and are currently combing the bushes to apprehend them.
Gunmen kidnapped 14 local oil workers and their driver, police confirmed on Friday.
The incident took place on a road connecting the towns of Omoku and Elele, around 50 km from the city of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, in the early hours of Friday as the employees of Nigerian energy company, Nestoil, traveled to work, police said.
“We have recovered the vehicle they were traveling in before the incident occurred. Police are currently combing bushes around the area in a bid to find and release the victims,” said, the Police PRO in the state, Nnamdi Omoni.
“I do not think there was a foreigner among those kidnapped. Their abductors have not made any contact and nobody has been arrested yet,” Nnamdi told Reuters.
Police in River State are calling on other security agencies, community leaders and other stakeholders in Port-Harcourt, to seek practical solutions to fighting criminal activities within the state.
During an interactive session with the community, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Francis Odesanya, said that the era of unknown suspects would soon be a thing of the past.
The Commissioner of Police said intelligence gathering and information sharing were imperative in dealing with security challenges in the state as well as Nigeria.
He also urged the stakeholders to come up with urgent and practical ways of dealing with the security situation in the state, which he said required genuine collaboration.
In his words: “Everyone is encouraged to say it as it is”.
Furthermore, the commissioner advocated for the record keeping of the crime history of arrested suspects, as the police paraded suspected criminals with recovered arms and ammunition.
Also at the meeting was the State’s Commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George, who said the state government had come up with creative ways of checking criminality.
On what they feel about the meeting, residents said that, though it was not the first time such meetings and activities were carried out by the police, they could only expect more to be done to protect their lives and property.
The new Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr Francis Odesanya, says that the Police will ensure improved security of the state.
The Police Commissioner said this on Monday when he visited the head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He told the Resident Electoral Commissioner in River State, Aniedi Ikoiwak, that Police officials would visit all INEC offices in the 23 local government areas of the state to ascertain the level of security.
Mr Ikoiwak said that although there was no fixed date yet for the legislative rerun polls, there must be an acceptable sense of security for electoral officers and residents in the state.
Residents and concerned bodies have also expressed worry at the security situation in River State, as they called on the Police and other security agencies to step up their activities, in order to provide safety for lives and property.
The Police Commissioner’s visit comes several days after the office of the electoral body was razed by yet to be identified persons in Bori, a town in Khana Local Government Area.
Although no life was lost in the incident, properties were destroyed and many believe that it contributed to the indefinite postponement of the legislative rerun election.