Black Soot: Arrest And Prosecute Artisanal Refiners, Wike Tells Rivers CP

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Governor Nyesom Wike has asked the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State to collaborate with the other security agencies, council chairmen and traditional rulers to fish out all those involved in illegal bunkering and artisanal refining for prosecution.

In a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, the governor accused persons engaged in illegal bunkering and artisanal refining for the black soot environmental menace endangering the health of residents of the state.

He gave the charge on Friday at the dinner and award night of the command that held at the Police Officers’ Mess at the Old Government Residential Area in Port Harcourt.

Governor Wike, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Emeka Woke, declared that the state government has resolved to tackle those involved in crude oil theft and refining once and for all.

He stated that the state government was willing to provide the police and other security agencies all that was required to dislodge and end the activities of artisanal refiners in Rivers.

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According to the governor, “the state is prepared to fight them more than ever before.”

He stated that since the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, assumed duty last year, Rivers has witnessed peace and improved policing.

“Little wonder the crime index in the state has reduced drastically,” Governor Wike said. “We thought we are the only people witnessing it, but with the award you got from the wife of the Inspector-General of Police, it is an eloquent testimony that what we are seeing like a state is also being observed from all the nation.”

The governor said policing in Rivers has improved remarkably because the management of the Nigeria Police Force at the Force Headquarters and the State Command respectively distanced themselves from politics.

“As a state, we will continue to support the security agencies in the state. Our support for security agencies is not only centred on the police force. We are also extending similar gesture to the Navy, Air Force, and others,” he hinted.

“For us, we believe the primary function of any responsible government is to protect life and property. So, we have no option but to continue to support in providing logistics and everything that can make the security agencies in the state function very well.

“Because we believe that if our people are safe and the life here is peaceful, there will be an increase in economic activities and the Internally Generated Revenue will also go up.”

Governor Wike commended Mr Eboka, the 42nd Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, for discharging his duty professionally and not joining the league of some of his predecessors allegedly posted to the state to cause turmoil and instability.

He announced N1 million reward for each of the recipients of the Rivers State Police Command award and N10 million to the command for organising the event.

Eboka, on his part, explained that 2021 was a remarkable year for the Command because Rivers State emerged as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.

He thanked God for His grace and Inspector General of Police for choosing Rivers State as the venue for the launching of South-South Operation Restore Peace.

According to him, this came with the deployment of special forces with sophisticated equipment as well as combat helicopter to the state.

He commended Governor Wike for being very phenomenal in the attainment of peace and security in the state.

“Since my assumption of office, the command has received more than 50 patrol vehicles fitted with modern gadgets from the state government,” the police commissioner said. “This gesture alone enhanced visibility policing in the state.

“Recall too, when we lost men to miscreants sometimes in April 2021, the governor did not allow us to suffer alone. He wiped the tears of the deceased families with a total sum N220 million, which means each family received the sum of N20 million.

“Recall the ENDSARS saga; at the end of that saga which led to the burning down of police stations and vehicles across the nation, the state governor did not abandon us to work under the trees. Rather, the governor constructed a storey building each for the Area Command, Oyigbo and the Divisional Police in Oyigbo.”

The highlight of the event was the conferment of Governor Wike with an award for fighting crime in the state.

The founder and General Overseer, Omega Power Ministry, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, was honoured for his unrelenting assistance to the State Police Command.

The recipients of the Rivers State Police Command 2021 awards include G.I.A Godstime Nwuju, best traffic officer; Inspector Winfrey Ini Akpan, best controller; CSP Bako Aghashim, best DPO; CSP Grace Wonwu, best female DPO; and the best visiting tactical team leader went to CSP Adamu.

New Rivers CP Resumes, Promises To Improve Security

CP Eboka Friday

 

A new Commissioner of Police has assumed duty in Rivers State with a promise to improve the level of security in the state.

CP Eboka Friday, the immediate past Commissioner of Police, Railway Police Command took over from the former CP, Joseph Mukan who was recently promoted to the rank of an Assistant Inspector General of Police AIG.

Apart from the general issues of insecurity, the new CP will be faced with the challenge of regulating the activities of local vigilante groups in some communities that have been accused of demonstrating excessive powers and carrying out human rights abuses.

 

Police Allegedly Shoot, Kill Soldier In Rivers

Police To Begin Recruitment Of 6,000 Personnel Monday
File Photo

 

There was mild tension in Ada George area in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where a police officer allegedly shot an army officer during a scuffle.

Confirming the incident on Thursday, State Commissioner of Police, Mr Zaki Ahmed, said both officers were involved in an argument.

He, however, regretted that two men who were dressed in mufti, could not resolve their agreement, thereby leading to an exchange of gunfire and the eventual death of the soldier.

Mr Ahmed further gave the assurance that the situation is under control as the two security agencies are expected to issue a joint press statement.

#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.”

Lawyer Accuses Rivers CP, Mbu Of Attempted Murder

A legal practitioner, Ken Asuette, has accused the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu of attempted murder for using tear gas to disperse a peaceful assembly in the state last Sunday.

Recalling the death of Chuba Okadigbo following a police raid at a rally in Kano state in 2003, Mr Asuette, a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the intention of the Police commissioner was to harm citizens.

“Let us remember what happened to Chuba Okadigbo, it was tear gas inhalation that killed him. Now, the same tear gas is what Mbu has released against innocent Nigerians which means that Mbu’s intentions are to kill Nigerians just the way tear gas was used to kill Chuba Okadigbo,” he stated.

He further challenged the CP to prove that his allegations are untrue.

He gave his account of the events which led to the disruption of the Save Rivers Movement Rally by men of the Rivers State Police Command, adding that “there’s no justification whatsoever” for the act.

According to Asuette, a letter was sent to the Commissioner to Police, Joesph Mbu, notifying him of the inauguration for last Sunday 12th January, another for next Sunday and members of the group had “specifically asked for police protection.”

The letter was acknowledged and stamped by the Police but “no information (written or unwritten) was related to this group to say you are banned or your inauguration (not a rally) should not hold because there are security reports that there might be some public disorder.”

He noted that the Save Rivers Movement is a registered organisation with ‘credible members’ including lawyers, doctors and engineers and so the said rally was to “inaugurate the Obi Akpor branch” of the association “within a particular confine, at the Rivers State College of Arts and Science.”

Mr Asuette also mentioned that he had noticed a trend in the activities of the Rivers State Police command

“In July 2013, the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition that I belonged to wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police notifying him of our intention to hold a (peaceful protest) rally in the Port Harcourt stadium.

However the event could not hold as the “police barricaded that part of Port Harcourt a day before that programme. Our members were beaten and dispersed even when we tried to say we have the constitutional right to gather, the police acted with impunity thinking that we were a political organisation.”

“Courts have decided in ANPP and IGP that nobody should stop any Nigerian from gathering and in that judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeal, there is an order of perpetual injunction against the IGP his agents which include Joseph Mbu from restraining anybody from gathering,” Asuette stated.

He stressed that “there’s no justification whatsoever for what happened on Sunday.”

Asked if there was a possibility of the Police obtaining an intelligence report of impending doom at the last minute necessitating the raid, Asuette said such report was yet to be made public.

He added that the police commissioner was “running wild without respect for the Constitution and elected authorities” as neither the President nor State Governor, could not have given him the order to carry out the raid.

“Every right provided for in the whole hog of section 33 of the constitution to section  45 of the constitution has been breached collectively by one police command under one police commissioner who does not respect constituted authorities,” he said.

Sunday’s event led to the hospitalization of Senator Magnus Abe while several others sustained injuries. Asuette added that properties including cars were also destroyed.

The Senate Committee on Police Affairs is currently conducting an investigation on the matter which has attracted national interest. The Committee, chaired by Paulinus Uwagwu, is expected to submit its findings to the Senate when the House resumes plenary.