Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers state has berated the Nigerian Police for being partisan and taking sides in internal party squabble by deciding to execute an interim injunction on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention when there was a judgment directing it and the Department of State Services (DSS) to provide security for the event.
Addressing Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) holding in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said there was no reason for the police to have resolved to execute an interim order of Justice Okon Abang in a suit where it was not a party, neither was it served with the order delivered late in the evening of Tuesday, 16th August, 2016.
He described the action of the police as “scandalous” and “undemocratic”, saying that there is no explanation for what they did to the PDP because they were allegedly obeying orders from above.
He said: “The Honourable Justice Okon Abang sat until about 1700 hours, took a short break, and delivered his controversial judgment at about 1800 hours. At which time the convention venue had already been sealed by a large contingent of security personnel personally led by the Rivers State Commissioner of Police (CP) and the State Director of the Department of State Security (DSS). The question is: when was the enrolled order prepared, vetted, signed, served and or transmitted to the Police in Port Harcourt for enforcement in a matter in which they were never sued or joined as parties?
“And because a PDP convention must be prevented from holding, the lives and property of Rivers people became inconsequential in the reckoning of the CP and the DSS.
“That was why in their desperation to enforce an insidious “order from above” they threw caution to the wind, and against every sense of rationality, mobilized the entire fleet of Armoured Personnel Carriers and other operational vehicles from other parts of the State to the Port Harcourt Civic Centre just to prevent a harmless party meeting from holding, and in the process left an entire State literally exposed and vulnerable to the mercy of criminals. For us, there is nothing surprising about the treacherous actions of the CP, the DSS and their collaborators”.
Governor Wike said that as far as Rivers State is concerned, the federal authorities only consider partisan interests when issues of security are on the table. He said that as such, federal security agencies regularly transferred senior security officers with partisan consideration in mind.
“In Rivers state, politics and partisan considerations now determine the posting of senior security officers. In particular, having signed-in onto the unholy conspiracy to undermine our administration, the security high command in Abuja prefers to make deployments that are intended to shore up the political fortunes of a degraded political opposition at the expense of providing effective security cover to the state and its people.
“With an average turnover of less than three months, the present CP is the fifth police chief they have posted to Rivers State since we assumed office. Recently, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), despite our protestations, posted some questionable senior police officers to command and control very critical security formations in the State. While we acknowledge the IGP’s right to post and transfer at his will, the concerns we raised about the character and competence of these particular officers and the motive behind their sudden redeployment to Rivers State are legitimate and remain unaddressed”, he said.
The governor also said that all efforts must be geared towards defeating impunity, especially the illegal use of security agencies to suppress the free will of the people.
“We strongly believe that by their behavioural antecedents and unabated hostility towards our government, these characters would rather work hard to sabotage and compromise peace and security in Rivers State in order to satisfy the demands of the political opposition that procured their posting, and for which interest they had and are still committed to promote and protect. Consequently, we hope the world would know whom and where to hold responsible should the security situation suddenly deteriorates in Rivers State”, he said.
Wike however, wondered why NBA has remained silent while the negative acts are carried out against the people.
He said: “Regrettably, in these and many other acts of impunity perpetrated either directly or indirectly against the people of Rivers State, and elsewhere across the country, by national institutions funded and sustained with taxpayers money, the NBA has maintained a worrisome degree of silence and indifference, despite the clear danger they pose to the survival and progress of this country.
“As a free citizen of this country, my take is that we must all undertake to fight and defeat impunity to enable democracy flourish and deliver good governance and economic prosperity to our people”, he said
The governor called on the NBA to rise to the challenge and become the conscience of the nation once again in the face of growing impunity across the country by Federal Government institutions.