By Davidson Iriekpen
The Rivers State Government has dismissed the threat by the Commander of the State Anti-robbery Squad (SARS), Mr. Akin Fakorede to drag it and newspaper organisations to court for libel over advertorial allegedly smearing him.
It said the threat was a joke of the century, promising that such a suit would be welcomed as it would afford it the opportunity to expose him and show to the world that he is a disgrace to the Nigeria police and a threat to lives and democracy.
A couple of newspaper organisations had recently published advertorials from the state government where it exposed the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicting Fakorede over his conduct in the rerun elections conducted in December 2016 in the state.
Angered by the publications, the SARS commander threatened to sue the state government and the newspaper organisations.
But in a statement yesterday in Port Harcourt, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Emma Okah, said the state government stood by the various publications complained about by Fakorede.
It described the SARS commander as a man whose love for power had deeply blinded him to the point of selling his integrity and compromising his commission as a senior police officer.
Going philosophical, the commissioner likened Fakorede to the proverbial satanic pig that eats the crops of the farmer and still waits in ambush to attack him instead of running away.
He said the state government was eagerly waiting for the court processes, daring him to put his reputation to test.
Okah said the state government would stand shoulder to shoulder to the assistant commissioner of police and his sponsors in defence of the rights of Rivers people to freely choose who would represent them through free and fair elections as other Nigerians were entitled to.
“Rivers State Government is eagerly waiting for the court processes and we dare Fakorede to put his reputation to test” Okah said, noting that the image of the SARS commander was not worth a piece of tissue paper.
“Fakorede is taking advantage of the rising moral decay in our society as otherwise, in an ideal situation; his likes ought to rot away in jail for the atrocities of polluting the electoral process in an alarming scale,” he said.
On the demand for the sum of N2 billion as compensation for libel, Okah described Fakorede as a gold digger whose reputation had evaporated and wondered the basis for such a laughable claim.
“The Rivers State Government reiterates that Fakorede is not a fit and proper person to be a Nigeria police officer of any rank by virtue of his direct involvement in crimes bordering on election rigging, violence, and assaults on the bodies and sensibilities of some Nigerians,” he insisted.
The commissioner said even though nobody was infallible, the minimum course of sensible conduct expected of Fakorede against the background of the wrong he had inflicted on the state was to apologise and seek God’s face.
He noted that the hollow threat of litigation was far below expectation.
“Certainly, a hollow threat of litigation is far below expectation. We expect that he will heed this advice and act well by treating Rivers people with deserving respect and dignity,” he said.