Police Raid 91-year-old Clark’s Abuja House

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• IG: Search not authorised •Afenifere, others condemn invasion

Jonathan Eze, Segun James in Lagos, Alex Enumah in Abuja and Sylvester Idowu in Warri

The Nigerian police yesterday raided the Abuja residence of the former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-south leader, Chief Edwin Clark.

The heavily armed policemen, who searched all the rooms in the elder statesman’s house, alleged that they were in the house to search for arms which they accused him of stockpiling.

But in a swift reaction, the police in a statement issued by Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, neither gave the order nor aware of the raid.

The policemen who were said to have arrived at the Asokoro residence of Clark at 1.30p.m., left the premises by 2.30p.m.

They did not find any incriminating evidence or ammunition in the house.

According to the policemen, they stormed the house on the orders of the IG Idris.

However, when THISDAY contacted the phone line of the octogenarian, the call was answered by someone who simply identified himself as his personal assistant, and confirmed the raid.

He said Clark was resting after the ordeal and could not speak to anyone.

But the police denied the invasion in the statement issued by its spokesman, Moshood, saying there was no order from the IG, neither was it aware of the raid.

It said the IG had ordered the arrest and detention of the four police officers involved in the raid as well as their informant.

The police IG in addition, ordered the investigation of the raid by the IG Monitoring Unit.

The statement read in part: “The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to a report claiming that the police yesterday raided the Abuja residence of Clark.

“The Force wishes to categorically state that the IG is not aware and did not order the raid of the residence of Clark as claimed by the writer of the story.

“Consequently, the IG has directed the detention and investigation of the four police personnel and the informant involved. The outcome of the investigation will definitely be made public.

“Notwithstanding, the facts that on a daily basis the Nigeria Police Force across the country receives information from members of the public which is promptly used to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities, the Force will not condone misconduct by any of its officer who acts contrary to the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, ethnic nationalities across the country such as Afenifere, Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) have unanimously condemned the invasion of Clark’s residence.

In a joint statement signed by their spokespersons, Yinka Odumakin, Prof Chigozie Ogbu, Junaid Mohammed, Isuwa Dogo and Senator Bassey Henshaw, they described the invasion as an act of sheer intimidation.

In the statement, the forum said the raid was a sad reminder of the era of dictatorship in 1984 when the home of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was ransacked in Ikenne, Ogun State, by soldiers and officials of the National Security Organisation (NSO) “whose conduct has only been rivaled by the DSS under the recently sacked Lawal Daura.”

According to the statement, “The Nigerian Leaders and Elders’ Forum is shocked by the gestapo-like raid on the Abuja home of Clark by men of the Nigerian Police on the spurious allegation that there were arms and ammunition stockpiled in the house.

“At the end of the shameful invasion of the home of the former minister in the worst signal of Nigeria becoming a police state, the police could not find more than a kitchen knife regularly used to slice tomato and onion.

“We view the provocative search as not arising from any intelligence report, but a sheer act of intimidation on a home that has served as meeting point for patriots across Nigeria, who are engaged in peaceful consultations to save Nigeria from the edge of the precipice.

“The raid is a sad reminder of the era of full blown dictatorship in 1984 when the home of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was ransacked in Ikenne by soldiers and officials of the dreaded NSO whose conduct has only been rivaled by the Daura-led DSS.”

The forum further described the traumatisation of Clark as another proof “that mad power has taken over the polity and its full blown desperation now at the boundaries of decency collapse.”

They, however, demanded an immediate apology to Clark by the Nigerian Police, saying: “Its (police) leadership at the moment has shown serial unprofessionalism and Dark Age policing.

“We want to sound it loud and clear to the administration that if the object of this intimidation is to send fear signals to patriots who are demanding better leadership for our country, it has backfired. We all counted the cost before we chose to stand up for the country.”

While also condemning the invasion, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) stated that the country might be descending into full-blown anarchy.

IYC President, Mr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi, in a statement yesterday in Warri, Delta State, urged relevant stakeholders to rise in defence of democracy.

The statement read: “Nigeria is gradually descending into a full-blown anarchy. This is dangerous for our democracy. Nigeria is heading to the cliff. Relevant stakeholders need to rise in defence of our hard earned democracy. There can be no democracy where there is no dissenting voice. President Muhammadu Buhari should accept that our democracy cannot exist without opposition elements to his government.”

Similarly, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, condemned in its totality the actions and assault on its leader, who has contributed to the development of Nigeria in several ways, including restoring the most required peace in the Niger Delta region. It further called on the presidency to call the police IG, Idris, to order forthwith.