The Many Sins Of Rivers Police Commissioner Joseph Mbu…Rotimi Amaechi’s Full Letter To Jonathan, Others
The problems that engulfed the Niger Delta region between 2003 and 2007 has its roots in the crisis in parts of Rivers State in 2003/2004 that pitched leaders of several local militias and cult groups against one another in a supremacy battle. The turbulence was such that residents of the State could not move from one community to the other or from one part of Port Harcourt to another for fear of being victims of the needless carnage between the warring groups. Despite, the intervention of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in October 2004 in what became known as the ‘first Amnesty programme.
The crisis eventually spread to other States of the Niger Delta and assumed a different dimension that took the ‘second amnesty programme’ and the determination of the Rivers State Government insistence on the enforcement of law and order to bring it under control. One of the major casualties of the 2003/2004 mayhem was the Nigeria Police Force whose officers and men suffered death, humiliation and lost morale because at some point during the crisis, the police failed in the discharge of its duties and eventually became victims of their inactions.
With this benefit of hindsight, I have since assumption of office as Governor of Rivers State treated the security of lives and property as priority. The Rivers State Government under my watch invested massively in training, equipping and providing logistics support for the Nigeria Police and other law enforcement agencies to enhance their capacity to discharge their duties.
It is in furtherance of this that I write to bring to your attention certain developments in Rivers State that are undermining the security of lives and property of residents, dwellers and businesses.
For purposes of this communication it may be necessary to restate the following obvious but critical facts.
1) Rivers State is one of the 36 States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
2) It is the largest on-shore oil producing State and theheadquarters of Nigeria’s hydro- carbon industry. It is also home to Nigeria’s only Oil and Gas Free Zone as well as several Off- shore oil and gas fields. In addition, Rivers State hosts multinational Oil and Gas Companies, Shell Petroleum Development Co (SPDC), MOBIL, AGIP, CHEVRON and many others.
3) Rivers State is the second largest economy in Nigeria after Lagos State.
4) During the inglorious days of militancy, Rivers State was the fault line and bore the brunt of the Niger Delta militancy wars. Those scars are still very evident.
5) The Nigerian Constitution recognises the Governor as the Chief Executive of the State.
1) On February 13, 2013, Mr.Mbu Joseph Mbu was posted to Rivers State as the 31st Police Commissioner in the State. His predecessor Mr. Mohammed Ndabawa had served in the State for barely nine months before his replacement with Mr Mbu.
2) I was sworn in as Governor of Rivers State on October 26, 2007.
3) I have worked with four Commissioners of Police prior to Mr Mbu’s posting to Rivers State during which period Rivers State witnessed a steady decline in insecurity and a gradual return of peace to our State.
4) Mr.Mbu is the fifth and present Commissioner of Police in Rivers State since I became Governor. Prior to him, I had worked with Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, Mr.Bala Hassan, Mr.Sulaiman Abba and Mr. Mohammed Ndabawa.
5) Regrettably, since after his assumption as Commissioner of Police in February 2013, the security situation began to deteriorate due largely to his approach to the discharge of his responsibility as Commissioner of Police.
6) Mr. Mbu, shortly upon assumption of office began to withdraw police security attached to principal officers of the State for reasons that were different from those given by the Assistant Inspector General of Police of Zone 6 during a visit to me. Police security attached to the Governor, the Speaker, the Attorney General and key judicial officers were withdrawn without prior notice or justification. This was followed by a daily redeployment of divisional police officers and heads of departments who understood the security dynamics of the State and had held their offices with great commendation.
7) A review of the posting and deployment of Divisional Police Officersin Rivers State within the last three months, can attest to this fact.
8) Mr. Mbu then proceeded to undermine the security structure which the State Security Council had put in place and which had proven to be most efficient in the last six years. Specifically, he immediately terminated the joint police/army patrol, which had been used as a formidable strategy to check violent crime of kidnapping, armed robbery and car snatching in Rivers State.
9) All efforts to make him understand the peculiar security challenges in the State that had necessitated the integrated approach to security in the State were rebuffed by him.
10)While still making efforts to persuade Mr. Mbu to appreciate the peculiar challenges of the State and adopt a cordial working relationship, which the State had enjoyed with his predecessors, Mr. Mbu began to exhibit conducts consistent with partisanship in the discharge of his official duties.
11) The following evidences partisanship:
Justice Ishaq U. Bello of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory gave the most talked about and challenged judgment where he assumed jurisdiction and declared Bro. Felix Obuah as Chairman of PDP Rivers State
The same day, the Commissioner of Police (COP), Mbu Joesph Mbu despatched five (5) troopers and over 25 policemen to takeover and seal the State PDP Secretariat and prevented Chief G. U. Akeand other members of his Executive Committee from entry into the building, even to take their personal effects.
(Note that the police was not a party to the suit and was not specifically charged to enforce the judgement, not being the Sheriff of Court)
The Commissioner of Police Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu addressed a Press Conference/Briefing where he said among others: “we are supposed to obey the court judgement. We are here to enforce the law. For now, judgment has been given and we stand by that judgement until there is a contrary order. Anybody or group of persons that attempts to cause tension in the State will be dealt with ruthlessly”
Note: The Police were not party to the suit.
Rivers State House of Assembly suspended Obio/Akpor Local Government Council Chairman and councillors based on a petition bordering on allegations of financial impropriety and other fraud related allegations. The suspension was in accordance with the Rivers State Laws.
The Caretaker Committee led by Mr. Chikaodi Dike was constituted and sworn in.
Groups of hired thugs and ex-militants, wielding and brandishing dangerous weapons invaded the Rivers State House of Assembly and sacked the members from the premises, preventing them from seating.
Note that the Rivers State Police Command Headquarters is almost oppositethe Assembly Complex. The Commissioner of Police and his officers were in the Police Head Quarters and were unperturbed, allowing the thugs and hoodlums to conclude their actions. The Policemen attached to the Assembly watched,unconcerned until the siege was over.
22/4/2103 and 07/5/2013
On both dates, the Okirika Local Government Chairman, Barr.Tamuno Williams appeared on Channels Television in Lagos to talk about the PDP judgment and the crisis in the State.
Two days after the Television programme, the Commissioner of Police ordered the withdrawal of the Mobile Policemen attached to the Okirika Local Government Council and the orderly attached to the Chairman of the Council.
Note: Okirika LGA is one of the most volatile LGAs in the State, and is asecurity flash point. Peace had returned to this LGA but in recent times, there have been renewed cult activities and a couple of cult related killings
The Commissioner of Police addressed a press conference in his office at Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, where he accused me of bribing and paying The Nation Newspaper to attack and cast aspersions on him, and demanded an apology from me and the Newspaper.
The Security Details attached to Chief G. U. Ake were withdrawn by the Commissioner of Police, following a solidarity visit to Chief Ake by the LGA PDP Chairmen.
Two Civil and Human Rights groups – the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) and the Human Rights Alliance – demanded Mr.Mbu’s immediate removal for lying against the media organisation, The Nation Newspaper and for accusing it of slanting its reports against the Rivers State Command on the crisis in PDP, Rivers State. AnyakweeNsirimovu, IHRHL’s Executive Director and Ken Atsuwete, a Port Harcourt based lawyer, spoke for the groups and called on Mr.Mbu to apologise to The Nation Newspaper and to me over the allegation.
Hon. Justice H. A. Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt ordered the Police to vacate the barricade at the Obio/Akpor Council Headquarters to allow the Caretaker Committee Members and Council workers access into the Council and to provide security for the Council. The Commissioner of Police publicly announced that the Police will not withdraw from the Council, making it clear that he would pick and choose which court orders to obey.
The Commissioner of Police ordered a complete withdrawal of the Policemen from the Council, contrary to the order of court which clearly stated that it should provide security to the Council, this paved way for criminal activities in the council. His decision to withdraw the Policemen was neither communicated to the Caretaker Chairman nor the Council.
Same day, within 30 minutes of the withdrawal of the Policemen, the power generating house at the Council was set on fire while policemen attached to Rumuokoro Police Station watched unperturbed. It is important to mention that this Police Station shares boundary with Obio/Akpor Council Secretariat.
As soon as the power house was set on fire and documents carted away from some offices, the Police returned and sealed up the premise. The Obio/Akpor Council remains sealed up to date with the police in occupation of same not withstanding the order of the Court.
On the same 14/05/2013, an aide to Chief G. U. Ake was murdered at Erema, in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA.
Note that both Chief Ake and Bro. Obuah hail from the same LGA as the murdered aide.
The Commissioner of Police summoned the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon.Otelemaba Dan Amachree to appear before him on Monday, 20/05/2013. This was following an open letter written by the Speaker to President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into the political crisis in Rivers State. The Commissioner of Police said the Speaker and Tony Okocha, the Chief of Staff, Government House were invited for further questioning following their outcry about a plot to assassinate me and my principal supporters in the State.
He stated that no court will save them.
Mr. Mbu addressed a press conference during which he referred to me as a tyrant and a dictator. His specific comments were “Our Governor is very tyrannical, he is a dictator. He wants everybody to say yes sir to him and I said I will not say so. I am a professional.”
Immediately after the departure of the AIG and Mr. Mbu from my office, an invasion of Government House and major streets of Port Harcourt by a group led by prominent militia leaders – Ateke Tom and Solomon Ndigbara wearing branded T-Shirts and openly displaying weapons led to a blockade of Government House. In consequence of this invasion, a visiting team of Distinguished Senators led by H.E. Ike L. Ekweremadu, Deputy President of the Senate were unable to leave the Government House through the entrance and had to leave through an alternative exit.
Mr. Mbu directed his men to restrain over 500 people from the Orashi region from paying a courtesy call and solidarity visit to me at Government House. Port Harcourt, which led to a near crisis.
Following intelligence reports, security was enhanced within and around the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex. At about 09.00 hours, Mr. Mbu invited some of the personnel and directed that the security formations should be demobilized. In consequence of this failure of security at the instance of Mr. Mbu, hoodlums invaded the Premises and Chambers of the House of Assembly. The attendant fracas led to injury to persons including members of the House. Upon the receipt of this information, I went to the Assembly Complex with my security details to rescue members of the Assembly. Thereafter, the House proceeded to sit and conduct its business for the day. Further information reaching me in the presence of Mr. Mbu necessitated my inviting him to accompany me to the Assembly Complex, which he declined. On the advise of my security, I stayed back and directed that they should monitor the situation.
The Nigerian Police is a people’s police and should not be seen to be partisan. One of its ideals is to show respect to constituted authority and support the Chief Executive’s effort to protect lives and properties.
The actions and comments of Mr. Mbu have shown that he is unwilling to support me to protect lives and properties of everyone in Rivers State. He has compromised our regular Security Council meetings leading to reluctance on the part of other members to speak up during the meetings and therefore rendering the meetings ineffective.
Besides his disparaging comments and discussions of security matters with scant regard for decorum, he has destabilized the security apparatus in the State thereby supporting the return of some of the key actors in the cult wars that engulfed the State from 2004 up till 2007.
Sir, it has become evident that Mr. Mbu is not desirous of assisting us in our quest for a crime free and peaceful Rives State. It is also evident that he lacks the appropriate mien and disposition required of such a highly placed officer of the law and is unable to appropriately perform his functions as Commissioner of Police in Rivers State.
I would therefore wish to respectfully request for his re-deployment from Rivers State in the interest of the people of the State and to restore the confidence of the people of Rivers State in the impartiality of the Nigerian Police.
While we commend your efforts at ensuring that you reduce insecurity in our country, we look forward to your prompt action.
Please be assured of our utmost regard.
Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON
Governor, Rivers State.
His Excellency,Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR,
President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency, Dr. David B Mark, GCON,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency, Rt. Hon Aminu W.Tambuwal, CFR,
Federal House of Representatives,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to email@example.com