The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has decried the invasion of the Save Rivers Movement rally in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State by some militants.
The militants, who wore masks were said to have shot sporadically mostly at vehicles parked at the venue of the event by Rivers State government officials. Some however sustained serious bullet injuries during the incident.
Reacting to the incident that occurred barely a week after a similar rally was disrupted by operatives of the Rivers State Police Command in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Comrade Debo Adeniran decried the rate of impunity in Rivers State.
He said, “The rate at which lawlessness is festering in Rivers State calls for concern from well-meaning Nigerians. It is so unfortunate that this could happen under a democratic government that should be governed by the rule of law. It is barely a week that the Police under the watch of the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu went to disrupt similar rally held by the same group under the guise of the protesters not obtaining permission from the police. It is impunity in the highest order and violation of fundamental human rights for the police to disrupt such peaceful gathering. It must be noted that these people have the right to associate and gather without necessarily seeking permission from the police. The right to freedom of association is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and must not be trampled on by anyone.
The police must realize that it is conferred with the duty to ensure the security of lives and properties. No one needs to invite the police to a crime scene before they go there. The excuse by the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ahmad Mohammad, that the gathering by the group was without police notification, is evasive. He claimed he received report of the attack but was not aware that anybody was injured. What step did the Rivers State Police Command take when they received the report? Were they expecting a special invitation to visit a crime scene? It is high time the police lawlessness in Rivers State was curtailed. They should realize that they are paid from taxpayers’ money to maintain law and order, not to transgress those laws.
Speaking further, the human rights crusader called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar for the redeployment of Joseph Mbu
“If sanity must be restored to Rivers State, the Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu must be redeployed. It is a clear case of two captain steering the same ship, disaster is imminent. The Governor is the Chief Security Officer of his state and would be held accountable for any security breach. It is clear that Mbu cannot collaborate with Governor Amaechi to stem the tide of lawlessness in the state, hence he (Mbu), should be redeployed with a view to bringing peace to reign in Rivers State,” Adeniran averred.
Adeniran also called on the IGP to institute a panel to investigate the rally disruptions with a view to fishing out the hoodlums and bringing them to book in no distant time.
Media Officer, CACOL
20th January, 2014