It’s tragic –Rivers Govt
From: CHRIS ANUCHA, Port Harcourt and MOLLY KILETE, Abuja
The Nigeria Police Force yesterday announced the dismissal of six of its personnel for violating directives from the authorities during the December 10, 2016 legislative rerun elections in Rivers State.
This is even as the Rivers State government described the dismissal as a tragic one, for the Police.
The dismissed officers are: Eyong Victor, Sgt Peter Ekpo, Sgt Oguni Goodluck, Sgt. Orji Nwoke, Sgt. Okpe Ezekiel and Sgt. Tanko Akor.
Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO, Don Awunah, who made the disclosure, also said that the dismissed police officers would be prosecuted for offences, ranging from electoral offenses, gross misconduct and violation of directives on Police conduct, during the elections.
Awunah, who spoke while parading the dismissed policemen, before newsmen, further said, the policemen who were hitherto aides of Governor Nyesom Wike, breached the rules handed them, by the Police High Command, which had urged them to be of good conduct and desist from escorting their principals, notably public office holders and politicians, to polling units throughout the period of the election.
He said: “these acts, if not checked, can be inimical to discipline and proper administration of the Force. Their actions are capable of bringing the entire Nigeria Police Force to disrepute and portray the Force in a very bad light as a lawless organization, not guided by the rule of law.
“The Police personnel while in the convoy of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Wike, on the date of election, December 10, 2016 misused the firearms in their possession, contrary to the provisions of Force Order 237.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government has described the dismissal as a tragic one, and Friday, a tragic day for professionalism and the respect for human rights in the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, the government said: “the dismissed officers committed no crime, other than foil a carefully orchestrated electoral heist by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in collusion with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Nigeria Police force.
“The claim by the Police that the affected officers misused their firearms while in the convoy of Governor Wike on the 10th of December 2016 is a wrong and cruel fabrication. Governor Wike did not depart from his official premises on the day of the election, and therefore had no use for an armed convoy.”
“Two days after the elections, on the 12th of December 2016, thousands of Rivers people, led by Governor Wike, resisted an invasion by the police on the premises of the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, in a brazen attempt to rig the elections in favour of the APC. The Port Harcourt City Council was the Election Collation Centre for the Rivers East Senatorial District. Throughout the period of the standoff between the invading police officers and the thousands of citizens who resisted them, Governor Wike and the officers around him conducted themselves with utmost restraint. The dismissed officers are therefore the latest victims of the medieval dictatorship of the APC government. But the Rivers people will continue to resist all attempts to enslave them. “
“The Service personnel became overzealous, took laws into their hands and opened fire, causing panic in the crowd. They joined in storming the Port Harcourt City Council Secretariat and prevented the movement of election results of Emouha polling unit to the appropriate collation centre, designated by INEC, in flagrant disregard and disobedience to senior Police officers, present at the venue.
“The six Police officers, after the conclusion of investigation into this public mischief, were subjected to internal disciplinary measures, and were found guilty and consequently dismissed from the Force. They will be prosecuted under the Electoral Act, to serve as a deterrent to others”, he added.