Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi
• Mbu: I’m not involved in detention of lawmaker
•Abe calls for CP’s removal
• Speaker loses bid to stop police from arresting him
By Ernest Chinwo
Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has denied involvement in any plot to stall the prosecution of Leader of the state House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, for the attempted murder of his colleague, Michal Chindah.
This comes as the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, also said he was neither involved in the alleged detention and torture of the lawmaker nor even set his eyes on the Assembly leader.
But while Mbu is absolving himself of further involvement in Lloyd’s case, the Senator representing Rivers South-east senatorial district, Senator Magnus Abe, and Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention have called on the Inspector General of Police (IG) to ensure the immediate redeployment of the state police commissioner for his alleged role in the crisis rocking the state.
Amaechi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, said he was appalled by the statement credited to the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Felix Obuah, alleging that he (Amaechi) was plotting to obstruct justice in the case of Lloyd using the state attorney general.
According to Iyofor, “Hon. Chidi Lloyd has not been charged to court yet so the alleged issuing of a supposed directive by the governor on a matter that has not even arisen is a most ridiculous speculation aimed at prejudicing or influencing the exercise of the powers of the attorney general of the state should Chidi Lloyd be eventually charged to court."
He emphasised that: “The exercise of such power is provided for and guided by the Constitution and not by some silly speculations of partisan participants like Felix Obuah and his backers.”
He wondered if there was a meeting where the plan was devised, and where Obuah got his information.
Meanwhile, the state police command has absolved itself of the continued detention and alleged torture of Lloyd.
Speaking at a press briefing in Port Harcourt Monday, Mbu said he was yet to see Lloyd since he was returned to the state by the Police Force Headquarters last Friday.
The state’s Assembly had over the weekend raised the alarm over the health of their colleague, stressing that he had been blindfolded and tortured in detention.
But Mbu said at the press conference that he had nothing to do with the detention of Lloyd, adding that: “He is under the custody of the force headquarters, which already a commissioner of police from Abuja has been detailed to follow his case up.”
He added that whatever had been happening to the lawmaker since he walked up to the forces headquarters in Abuja last week, till today, as well as the processes of his prosecution, were not under his watch, but the assigned commissioner of police from Abuja.
Contrary to Mbu’s stance, Senator Abe has reinforced the recent calls for his immediate redeployment over his questionable involvement in the state crisis.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt Monday, Abe, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), expressed dissatisfaction that the police hierarchy had not done anything on the matter even as the time the National Assembly had passed a resolution asking for Mbu’s redeployment.
He said: “I think that it is actually an embarrassment to the police for them to wait this long. If you look at the report of the Senate committee, it is clear that crime has gone up in Port Harcourt since this man has been here. It is clear that normal policing is not going on in the state. It is clear that the citizens of the state are at risk, so moving somebody who is not contributing in positive manner to what the constitution expects us to be doing here is not something that the police need to wait for National Assembly to pass resolution or anything. It is clear that the man cannot function as Commissioner of Police in the state.”
He insisted that the police commissioner should be redeployed so that the peace and stability of the state would not continue to be threatened.
On the crisis in the state, he called on all political stakeholders to work for peace and stability of the state.
The Senator equally urged them to resolve their political differences in the spirit of give and take.
In a related development, the Lagos branch of Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention, the supreme body of the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, has called on the police high command to speedily effect the transfer of Mbu.
In a statement signed by eleven members of its executives, including the president, Magnus Amos, the convention also described the factionalisation of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) as a national embarrassment, calling on all governors to respect the mandate of the winner of the election.
The body however restated its love and resolve to support President Goodluck Jonathan in piloting the affairs of the nation.
Meanwhile, the state High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Monday declined to restrain the police from arresting the Speaker of the state Assembly, Otelemaba Dan-Amachree, over an alarm he raised that there was a plot to assassinate the state governor and other senior government officials.
Presiding over the speaker’s case, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, after hearing the arguments of the parties in the case, said there was no justification for issuing a perpetual injunction to restrain the police from investigating any Nigerian for an offence.
The judge further observed that the allegation levelled against the state’s police command was premature and could not form a ground to restrain the police from doing its statutory duties.
Counsel to the Speaker, Mr. Emenike Ebete, had in course of the trial told the court that there was no prima facie evidence before the court to warrant his client to answer police invitation on the rumoured plot to assassinate him and the state governor.
Ebete maintained that the open letter to the presidency on the assassination plot allegedly written by the assembly Speaker did not emanate from his client, adding that the letter was not authored. To this end, he urged the court to restrain the police from infringing on the fundamental human rights of his client.
But Enebeli overruled the argument and refused to grant the injunction.
However, a group of civil rights activists sued the police over the continued detention of the Leader of the state House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd.
The civil rights activists: Ken Atsuwete, Mr. Godknows Forth, James Amah, Austin Igwe, Oliver Amah and Aaron Omega have asked the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt to compel the police to produce the detained Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd in court for onward release.
The respondents are the Inspector General of Police and the Rivers State Commissioner of Police.
The plaintiffs, in suit No. FHC/PH/144/2013, want the court to declare that the continued detention and restriction of the movement of the assembly Leader and the refusal of the respondents to grant them access to him is illegal and constitutes a violation of their fundamental human rights guaranteed under Section 35, 36,37, 41 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 6,7,12, 14, and 28 of the African charter on Human Rights.
In an affidavit of urgency attached to the suit, the plaintiffs explained that on Friday, July 26, Lloyd was brought into Port Harcourt from Abuja, blindfolded and bundled into an unmarked vehicle and then promptly taken to an unknown destination. According to them, the whereabouts of the law maker remains shrouded in mystery.