By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Police Command has said it would interrogate the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree and the Chief of Staff to Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Chief Tony Okocha, over allegations of plots to assassinate Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and other top government functionaries.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, who stated this yesterday also said there were no plans to withdraw Amaechi’s security personnel as alleged by Amachree and Okocha.
Also yesterday, members of the opposition parties in the state, under the umbrella of the Conference of Nigerian Political parties (CNPP) expressed their support for Amaechi in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Mbu said at a press briefing in Port Harcourt that allegations made by the speaker in his open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and the ones raised by the chief of staff were very weighty to be ignored.
He said they would be interrogated for more information on the alarm and allegations they raised.
Mbu said: "The speaker has raised very serious issues about security threat and about the attempt to assassinate the governor, His Excellency, the chief executive and the chief security officer of this state. That is a very serious issue and the speaker of the House of Assembly would be invited and would be interrogated to give us more facts and throw light into this information.
"He has to tell us how the chief executive of this state; he has the paraphernalia of security and for God’s sake why should the Commissioner of Police, why should the Director of SSS, why should anybody withdraw security from the governor of the state? The Speaker has to tell us.
"The Chief of Staff to the governor has also made pronouncements to the effect that there are plans to start bombing places, burning houses and so on. This also has to be investigated. He is going to be invited to the command by the state’s CID and he has to throw more light on these grave pronouncements. As the chairman internal security in this state, I will not fold my arms and allow people to make inflammatory statements and create tension in the state."
The speaker had in an open letter to Jonathan alleged plots to assassinate the governor, himself and some other government officials and had called for the redeployment of Mbu from the state.
On the allegation of plans to withdraw Amaechi’s security personnel and reported redeployment of security aides to the speaker and the chief of staff, Mbu said they were not true.
He said there was a high level of abuse of police postings in the state and explained that what he had done was to correct the anomaly.
Mbu said the speaker had 24 police personnel guarding him, far beyond his entitled quota, adding that what he had done was to correct the situation.
"There is police abuse in certain quarters here in Rivers state. Everybody in government house wants to see himself as governor. If the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly has 15 personnel from the Special Protection Unit of the Nigeria Police, as if those men are not enough, he still acquired nine from the Mobile Police Force, Squadron 19, so 15 plus nine, how many? Only one person has 24. What is his entitlement?
"So what we have tried to do is to make sure that every appointee or political office holder gets what he is entitled to so that we can have enough men to go on patrols. The Mobile Police Force is primarily meant for quelling riots, for insurgencies and for high profile patrols," said Mbu.
Reacting to the case of the chairman of Okirika Local government council, Mbu said the chairman was entitled to one orderly but had seven mobile policemen in his convoy. He said he only withdrew the mobile policemen.
Meanwhile, chairmen of opposition political parties in the state under the umbrella of CNPP have said they would support Amaechi in the current challenges facing his administration.
The opposition party leaders spoke through their chairman, Rev. Minaebi Dagogo-Jack when they paid the governor a solidarity visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
The Rivers CNPP Chairman noted that Amaechi on assumption of office had tackled the security challenges in the state and expressed concern that the situation in the state was now trying to take the state back to the pre-2007 years.
"We cannot forget that some years ago; crises similar to this were pampered until it became a major monster that nearly swallowed everybody. We all felt the negative impact because good people refused to say anything. When you came on board, you took some bold steps to curb the situation. Everybody that lived in Rivers State then could testify that we later slept with two eyes closed."