Rivers Rerun: Court Didn’t Stop Us From Probing Violence – Police

INECThe 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.”

Wike Expresses Worry Over Conduct Of Rivers Rerun

Nyesom Wike, Chibuike Amaechi, Rives RerunThe Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike, says he is not satisfied with the conduct of the legislative rerun election in the state.

He told Channels Television that the collated results were being manipulated in favour of the opposition political party.

Governor Wike claimed that strong effort was made to upturn the results already won by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He expressed worry over Rivers East, Rivers West, Andoni and Opobo Nkoru federal constituencies, where he said his party’s candidates were set to sweep the polls.

Although the army has since denied involvement in the process, the governor insisted there were video evidences.

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.

Rivers Rerun: INEC, Security Agencies Meet With Political Parties

Rivers Rerun: INEC Replies Wike, Says Adhoc Staff Are Non-PartisanThe 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.

This is not the first time the commission is making the pledge to ensure that the December 10, Rivers Rerun elections, would be free, fair and violence free.

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.

Rivers Rerun: APC Accuses Wike Of Stockpiling Arms

Rivers APC Remembers Late Victims Of 2015 ElectionsThe 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 statement reiterated the stance of President Buhari’s administration to ensure that elections are free, fair and credible.

Meanwhile, the Rivers state government has reacted to the allegations of the APC.

The Commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George, told Channels Television that the statement of the APC is most unfortunate and a bunch of lies.

According to him, “the governor Wike led administration does not need to carry arms to win elections”.

Every Vote Counts

Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Mr Yakubu Mahmood, has vowed to ensure that votes of the people of Rivers state count, in the December 10, re-run polls.

Mahmoud, who was speaking in Abuja after the swearing of the new INEC national commissioners, dismissed the allegation of bias that has been leveled against the commission, insisting that INEC will not be distracted by anyone.

He added that the commission is satisfied with the preparations so far, ahead of the polls.

Rivers Rerun: Police Assures Stakeholders Of Credible Polls

riverspoliceThe 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.

Rivers Rerun: Wike Takes Campaign To Khana LGA

Rivers Rerun: Wike Takes Campaign To Khana LGA The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has taken his campaign to three districts; Babbe, Khana and Nyor of Khana local government in Rivers state.

While campaigning, he again raised alarm over the withdrawal of his Chief Security Officer in the run up to the legislative polls, as well as the alleged plans to assassinate him.

Wike however assured the people that victory for his party is sure come Saturday, December 10, as he expressed that no amount of intimidation would make the party give in.

The governor who was welcomed with music and dance from cultural dancers, was also in the Local government area to flag off the renovation of schools in the 3 districts.

A former chairman of the local government area, Gregory Nwidaam, who spoke on behalf of the people, assured the governor and his team of their full support as Wike promised to go the extra mile for the people.

Khana is another local government in Rivers south east senatorial district where some observers have predicted that the contest would be intense.

The next port of call was Taaba, and also received by a crowd of supporters, the governor told the people to stand firm, because according to him, “victory is guaranteed”.

This comes barely 24 hours after he declared a three-day prayer and fasting in the state for the peaceful conduct of the rerun legislative election in the state.

Rivers Re-run: APC Accuses Wike, PDP Of Planning To Implicate Party

Rivers APC Remembers Late Victims Of 2015 ElectionsThe All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State claims it has received credible intelligence that the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) plan to implicate the party in the Rivers State legislative re-run.

The party says several National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) uniforms have been produced with APC tags which PDP thugs will wear and thumbprint ballot papers on election day to implicate the APC.

According to the political party, the plot by the PDP and Governor Wike is to justify the wild allegations the governor has been making against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Inspector-General of Police, Rivers State Police Commissioner and other stakeholders in the weeks leading to the rerun elections.

A Private Army

In a statement, the party alleged that the same intelligence report indicated that the PDP and Governor Wike had been branding Hilux trucks similar to the ones used by security agents at an undisclosed secured location.

“They are alleged to have also cloned and produced various uniforms belonging to security agencies especially the Nigeria Police and special military camouflage for the purpose of infiltrating the security agencies and invading communities where rerun elections will take place on December 10 to hijack electoral materials and perpetrate other electoral mischief,” the ACP claimed.

The party further claimed that the report it got showed that the governor’s plan was to be executed state-wide but with emphasis on Rivers South-East, Senator Magnus Abe’s stronghold.

“However, Governor Wike and the PDP maintain a private army of armed gang under Solomon Ndigbara, a known associate of the governor and the PDP. Solomon Ndigbara has been confirmed to be under the protection of Gov. Wike and have been living in Government House, Port Harcourt even as a wanted person by Nigerian security agencies.

The APC said it welcomed the decision of the Inspector-General of Police to provide 20,000 officers and men of the force for the rerun elections.

“We also urge sister security agencies to support the Police to ensure a violence-free rerun election on December 10.

“We call on the security agencies to ensure that their ranks are not infiltrated by PDP gunmen dressed in cloned uniforms of the various security services,” the party’s statement added.

As the election draws near, there have been claims by Governor Wike that the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission had planned to rig the legislative re-run election.

The electoral body and the APC have denied the allegation, describing it as baseless.

Rotary International Partners With Rivers Govt. To Eradicate Polio

PolioA global organisation, Rotary International, says there is need for massive intercontinental collaboration to end polio in Nigeria.

The International Director of the group, Brad Howard, made the assertion when he led 35 members of the group from the Bahamas and U.S. on a courtesy call on the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike.

He added that their visit to the Government House in Port Harcourt was part of events to mark the Rotary International West Africa Project Fair.

Mr Howard expressed worry over the resurgence of four new cases of Polio disease in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

He, however, noted that the disease needed a collaborative effort to ensure it was completely eradicated.

In his response, Governor Wike assured his guests that the state government would continue to provide the needed support.

NJC Emergency Meeting To Continue Today

judgesThe emergency meeting of the National Judicial Council (NJC) scheduled to discuss the arrest of some judges last week ended on Tuesday without members reaching any resolution.

The meeting, which held at the three Arm Zone of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, will continue on Wednesday.

Journalists, who had gathered early enough to cover the meeting were barred from covering the event, but an insider confirmed that the meeting had begun and that the meeting was exclusively for members of the NJC.

This meeting is coming on the heels of the arrest of some judges by the Department of State Services over allegations of misconduct and corruption.

The arrest has thrown up a lot of debate across sessions of the society.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called the harassment and arrest of the judges absurd and unacceptable, but the Federal Government insisted that the ongoing trial was for judges alleged to be corrupt and not the entire judiciary as argued by the NBA

This is perhaps the first time the Department of the State Service, (DSS) will be making such sweeping arrests and some believe that this is a highjack of the responsibilities of the Nigerian Police Force.

Tuesday’s meeting by the NJC is expected to make pronouncement on the position of the body regarding the arrest of the High Court judges.

DSS Explains Why It Made Arrests

After the arrest of the judges triggered series of comments from lawyers, the DSS, through its Spokesman, Abdullahi Garba, said that the service had in the past few days, embarked on raids of residents of some Judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts.

Mr Garba says the operations are based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges.

According to him, “the Service action is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the Judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis of amounts of money paid.

Spokesman for the DSS, Abdullahi Garba

“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched.

“The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges”.

The DSS spokesman further explained that some of the judges had made useful statements while a few declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.

“In one of the States where the Service operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the Judge had Two Million United States Dollars ($2,000,000 USD) stashed in his house.

“When he was approached for due search to be conducted, he in concert with the State Governor, mobilised thugs against the Service team.

“The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the Governor.

“Unfortunately, the Judge and Governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency,” he said.

He did not state the name of the Governor and the state.

But the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, had foiled the arrest of a judge in Port Harcourt.

Wike Accuses Police, DSS Of Trying To Abduct A Judge

Nyesom Wike, Police, DSS, JudgeRivers State Governor has accused the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) of trying to abduct a serving Federal High Court judge in his residence at number 35, Forces Avenue in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, on getting wind of the incidence, went to the residence of the judge with the aim of averting the arrest.

A statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, said the security operatives were angered by the governor’s arrival at the scene shortly after the process began.

The statement adds that the security operatives blocked the entrance of the residence of the judge at about 1:00am on Saturday, claiming that they were acting on orders from above.

The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Francis Odesanya, however, said that the two security agencies were at the scene because they received privileged information.

Mr Odesanya added that he was at the scene as a peacemaker.

Governor Wike Narrates The Situation 

Meanwhile, the Governor narrating the situation to newsmen in the state said, “It appeared to be an attempt to kidnap some people, so I told my security details to arrange security for us to move to the place.

“We got here 10 minutes after 1:00 am, and saw some security agencies, I asked what was  going on and the security official said they were detailed to arrest a judge.

” I said it is never heard that by 1:00am (after one), you are here to arrest a judge when you could as well invite the judge.

“If you cannot reach the judge whoever the judge is, invite the judge through the Chief Judge and obviously, the judge must have to respond to your invitation”.

The Governor stated that it will not be appropriate to arrest a judge at an odd hour when he has not been declared as a criminal but invited to have a chat which they said was the motive of the arrest.

He insisted that the judge must be invited in the morning to come for the chat, “I said okay, why not in the morning invite the judge to come whoever the judge is?

“And they insisted that by the order they have that they are directed to pick the judge and bring the judge over.

“I said well, as the Chief Security Officer, if I cannot at this moment say look, it is not possible and let us see a way that we can do things the more civilized way, this is democracy, this is not military government.

“If as a governor of a state you cannot respect and say okay, now that the governor as the Chief Security Officer (as they said) has advised that they should invite the judge to come whoever the judge is, then something is wrong”,

The governor further added that such act portends danger to our democracy and “under a democratic government, it’s not allowed, the rule of law must always take its place”.

He noted that there are things to be done in a more decent way to assure people of their protection in a democratic dispensation, he referred to the incident as “unfortunate”


PDP Shuns Court Order, Says All Is Set For National Convention

Nyesom-Wike-Governor-of-Rivers-StateThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says all is now set for its planned national convention scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, shunning a court order asking it to shelve the convention plan.

Hours after a Federal High Court in Abuja gave a ruling that proscribed the party from holding the national convention, the Chairman of the Planning Committee and Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike, told reporters that the planned convention would hold.

While the Federal High Court in Abuja has banned the party from holding the convention, another Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, has ruled that the PDP could hold the convention as planned.

The latest of the contradictory orders were issued on Tuesday by both courts.

In his ruling on a case filed by the factional chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the presiding judge of the Abuja court, Justice Okon Abang, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission from supervising or monitoring the planned convention, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The trial judge in the ruling also ordered the Inspector General of Police to enforce his order which put paid to the planned convention.

He also directed Senator Sheriff to obtain and fill form 48 so as to commit anybody or group, who may disobey the order to prison.

Aware that a Port Harcourt court order contradicts that of his court, he said: “This division is not struggling with Port Harcourt division for jurisdiction but the Port Harcourt division should not have assumed jurisdiction because the Supreme Court has made it clear, that when a situation like we have at hand arises, a judge should consult with the Chief Judge before taking any step.

“If my brother in Port Harcourt is vast with this Supreme Court decision he would not have assumed jurisdiction. Let me make it clear here that Port Harcourt division cannot over rule me”.

“Any party or person that fails to comply with my decision will have himself to blame,” he warned.

In an earlier ruling on the same day, the court in Port Harcourt said that since the July 4, 2016 judgement of Justice Lima that ordered Senator Sheriff or his agents from parading themselves as the chairman and leaders of the party was not appealed, the judgement still subsists.

The ruling by Justice Ibrahim Walifa was in connection with originating summons of a matter between the National Convention Planning Committee of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, the police and Department of State Services.

Justice Walifa said that it was an abuse of court processes for the defendants to carry on as if nothing has changed and sought to originate a similar matter in a sister court.

He believes the High Court judgement of July 4 and August 16 have made it abundantly clear that the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee was on the right side of the law.

Amidst theses contradictory orders, however, the PDP said convention planning committee is carrying on with its plan to hold the convention, with Mr Wike saying that the seeming conflicting judgements from the High Court in Abuja was simply a distraction.

“All the legal organs of the party have arrived for the event,” he said.

Billed to hold on Wednesday, the convention, according to the party, will see the election of officers of the Party drawn from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria to fill in the vacant positions that occurred following the dissolution of national officers due to the expiration of their tenure at the last National Convention on May 21.

The planned convention will hold at the Sharks Stadium, Moscow Road in Port Harcourt. .

Economy: Guild Of Editors Urge Government To Focus On Agriculture

Agriculture, US, NigeriaThe Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) on Thursday said government can no longer continue to pay lip service to agriculture in Nigeria if the economy will get out of the woods.

This was the view of speakers at the annual Nigeria Editor’s Conference currently holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The conference, which brings together senior editors and publishers from around the country, had in attendance some former governors, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the host governor, Mr Nyesom Wike.

This year’s event is expected to create a platform for experts and successful farmers to brainstorm on ways to develop agriculture as an option for a prosperous nation.