Rivers Govt, Police Differ over Redeployment of Amaechi’s Security Aides

07 Sep 2013

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Governor  Rotimi Amaechi

By Ernest Chinwo                   

The Rivers State Government and the Nigeria Police are giving different interpretations to the redeployment of two major security aides to the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi; his escort commander and the camp commandant

While the state government raised the alarm that the redeployment of the security aides had ulterior motives and jeopardised the security of the governor, the police explained that the exercise was nation-wide and not aimed at any governor.

The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Angela Agabe (DSP), yesterday said the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, had ordered the redeployment of security details attached to state governors across the country.

Agabe insisted that the action was devoid of any sentiments and was done in accordance with the law. “We (Police) do things in accordance with the law. It (signal) is an order from the IG himself to all the 36 states of Nigeria, not only Rivers. If it is only in Rivers one will think something is fishy.

The IG knows what and what and that is why he gave the signal to all the 36 states. So there is no sentiment as far as I am concerned,” Agabe said.

But the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, described as lame and unsatisfactory the explanations given by the police spokesperson.

Semenitari said the explanation proffered by the police was doubtful and contrary to the reason given when both the governor’s escort commander and camp commandant were invited to the state police headquarters.

The statement said, “The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to comments by the public relations officer, Rivers State police command, alleging that the redeployment of Governor Amaechi's escort commander was ordered by the Inspector General of Police.

“The Government of Rivers State finds this hard to believe as the excuse being proffered by the Rivers Sate Police Command is clearly an afterthought as this was not the reason given when both the Escort Commander and the Camp Commandant were invited to the police headquarters.

“This excuse was also not proffered when the governor personally called (the state police commissioner) Mr. Mbu to complain about the removal of his escort commander.
“Matters of personal security of government functionaries and especially top officials like the governor of the state are discussed and agreed with these officials.

“Even if for the purposes of argument, it is indeed factual that the inspector general of police ordered the redeployment of Governor Amaechi's escort commander; wouldn't the courteous thing be for the commissioner of police and the police high command to inform and explain this to Governor Amaechi?”

The commissioner noted that on matters of personal security, the governor reserved the right to reject or accept security details, as he deemed fit.

She concluded that, “The Rivers State Government therefore is reluctant to accept what it considers a lame and unsatisfactory argument by the Rivers State Police Command.”

Meanwhile, the embattled leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, yesterday, had reprieve as a Court in Port Harcourt ordered for the release of his International Passport for six weeks on medical grounds.

The order followed an application by the lawmaker’s counsel that the House leader needed the passport to travel abroad for proper medical attention.

Lead counsel to Lloyd, Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), told journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday that the release of his client’s passport followed two medical reports issued by his client’s doctors’.

He said the doctors had directed that he (Lloyd) should proceed on urgent medical treatment abroad.
According to him, “We have to apply to a vacation court for his passport to be released to enable him travel for medical treatment.
“After he was granted bail, his doctors examined him on two different things and issued a report that showed extreme urgency and that, the medical facilities to attend to him, are not readily available here in our vicinity (Nigeria).

“Because of that, he needed to travel abroad. In fact, they made a specific referral to a hospital in London where he could obtain adequate medical treatment. You know he cannot travel without his passport.

“So, based on those two medical reports, we had to go to a vacation court, which is a court set aside for urgent matters. And these two medical reports were not there the time the learned trial Judge, Justice Letam Nyordee, granted him bail.

“They were fresh evidence that emanated following the examination of his health condition after he was granted bail.”
He further said that the court granted that he should be in possession of the passport for six weeks, ordering that the travel document should be returned to the court on or before October 28, 2013.

“So, we went back to Vacation Court and we are happy to note that the Vacation Judge saw merit in the application and granted it. And, I must point out that it’s not a permanent release of the passport.

“So, it is only a release for six weeks to enable him go for treatment. And, thereafter, the Judge ordered that he should return the passport to the court. So, it’s not that he has been given passport for keeps.

“No. It’s just for him to travel for six weeks and, there is an order that he should return it on, or before October 28. So, you can see that there is no cause for alarm”, Nwofor said.

It would be recalled that Justice Nyordee of the State High Court, had, on August 7, this year, granted Lloyd bail but ordered that his international passport should be deposited with the court, as part of his bail conditions.

In another development, the Rivers state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the recent approval of Amaechi for a three-month extension of the tenure of the Caretaker Committee for Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.

The elected chairman, vice chairman and 17 councillors of the council were suspended by the state House of Assembly at the outset of the political crisis in the state. the governor subsequently appointed a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the council.

But the extension of the tenure of the committee has drawn the ire of the state PDP.
The party, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday by its Special Adviser on Media to the State Chairman, Jerry Needam, said while the setting up of the Committee remained an issue considered an irresponsible act which is being challenged in the law court, the governor still went ahead to extend the tenure of the already faulted Committee thereby worsening an already bad situation.

The party said that by taking such action, “the governor has demonstrably shown that he has no respect for the court and the rule of law and would stop at nothing in taking actions so long such actions well protect his ambition even though it jeopardises the collective interest of the masses.

The State PDP noted that under the provisions of section 64 (4) of the Rivers State Local Government Law of 2012, neither the National Assembly, State Assembly nor the Governor of the State can either extend, replace or reappoint the Caretaker Committee of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council or appoint a new Caretaker Committee member on the expiration of the statutory Ninety (90) days life span granted to the caretaker committee by the Rivers State Government Law (2012); and staying in office beyond the period allowed under the Law is illegal.

“It is therefore the party’s view that the continued stay in office of the CTC of Obio/Akpor Council is illegal, a waste of the council’s resources and is detrimental to the overall interest of the good people of the area.

“It is our observation that the continued stay in office of members of the CTC has allowed room for them and even their spouses to be spending council’s resources on frivolities that have little or no bearing on the lives of the people of Obio/Akpor”, the party said.

The party therefore, on the strength of this, commended and identified with a group of “concerned and patriotic citizens of Obio/Akpor  extraction who have courageously challenged the Caretaker Committee’s stay in office for a period exceeding three (3) months from the date of its inauguration, pursuant to section 64 (4) of the Rivers State Local Council Law of 2012.

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