- Wike pledges support for affected officers
OnyebuchiEzigboin Abuja and Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The national leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed dismay over the dismissal of six police officers attached to the Governor of Rivers State, Chief NyesomWike by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Friday.
The party, which described the allegations levelled against the officers as concocted and a ruse, demanded their immediate reinstatement by the authorities of the Force.
In a statement issued by the PDP Spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the opposition party said the Police action in sacking the officers without opportunity to openly defend themselves, was against their basic human rights. It also said the police officers were being punished for failing to do the bidding of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who planned to use the security agents to manipulate the re-run election.
“We condemn in strong terms the dismissal of six police officers attached to the Governor of Rivers State, Chief NyesomWike by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Friday. The offense adduced for their secret trial and subsequent dismissal was a mere concoction and a ruse.
“The hurried dismissal of these police men is another valid pointer to the pre-election rigging plans and the assassination attempt on Governor Wike by the APC led administration before the December 10, 2016 re/run elections in Rivers State. It will be recalled that the Nigeria Police Force withdrew over 70 percent of its personnel deployed to Rivers State Government House and the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Governor few days to the Elections.
“It is obvious by this latest action that the APC led administration after the failed assassination attempt on Governor Wike, decided to punish the six police officers who defended their oath of office and job ethics by refusing to carry out the hatchet plans.”
PDP said the accusation of “professional misconduct” leveled against the officers who were only performing their constitutional duties by the Police hierarchy is a slap on the rule of law, ethical responsibility of police duties and the tenets of democratic values.
“This is unacceptable and the dismissed officers should be reinstated immediately in the interest of professionalism, justice, equity, and fair play. This call for their immediate re-instatement is equally in the interest of the Nigerian Police to save the battered image of the Force.
“Otherwise, this action will be further understood to mean that the Police surely has something to hide but instead played to the gallery with this contraption as a cover up to their hidden agenda and the atrocities committed by some of its men during the Rerun elections.
“It is a well-known fact that the security agencies in Rivers State during the re-run elections threw caution to the wind and worked assiduously in favour of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). These and many more unholy activities of officers and men of the Force should be of serious concern to a well-meaning government. “
But No! Governments of the APC at all levels are the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against Nigeria’s electoral processes, citizens, and democracy within and outside.
“It is instructive to note that the PDP, other well-meaning Nigerians and members of the international community are looking forward to the actions of the ruling party in redressing this brazen act of unprofessionalism, electoral malpractices and other misdemeanor of the Police Force and some other security agencies in the Rivers State elections of December 10, 2016.
“To this end, we do hope and believe that the Police hierarchy will take our advice seriously and reinstate the sacked officers to their various positions and duty posts”, the party added.
Meanwhile, Governor NyesomWike has declared that the government and people of Rivers state would stand with the six policemen dismissed by the Police High Command for political reasons because “they committed no crime known to law”.
The governor also stated that the government and people of the State would pursue the matter through laid down legal processes to its logical conclusion.
He spoke yesterday in Ahoada East Local Government Area during the defection of former All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain and former Ahoada East Local Government Chairman, Mr. Cassidy Ikegbidi to the PDP
Wike said: “They gave me policemen for my protection, but before I knew it, they have dismissed them. They think they are punishing them, but Rivers State will stand with them forever. By the time we finish, they will realise that they have favoured the so-called dismissed policemen. In Rivers State, we don’t abandon people. No amount of intimidation will make me abandon these innocent policemen.”
He added: “The Policemen committed no offence. Simply because they followed their boss, they said they should be dismissed. They want to discourage policemen from protecting me. For me, I am not worried. I am a village man and a grassroots politician. Before you kill me, you would have killed so many people.”
The governor said Rivers PDP is on ground in the state because it delivers projects to the people. The governor noted that Rivers people would continue to protect their votes despite the evil machinations of the APC.
“Nobody will intimidate me to change my mind. If you like bug my phone. As far as I will never plan coup, I will never be afraid. A man with the people will never beg those who are bent on intimidating us. The blood pressure of APC leaders is extremely high. I will continue to make their blood pressure grow higher. From now on, I have changed my name from high tension to Mr. Project,” he said.
He pledged to execute three key projects in Ahoada East Local Government Area and also rehabilitate Western Ahoada County High School. He commended the former Ahoada East Local Government Chairman for defecting to PDP, pointing out that the people would continue to witness government presence.
In his remarks, Ikegbidi, said he and his supporters defected because of the development strides of the governor. Also, Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah, assured all the defecting APC leaders that they would be integrated into the PDP structure.