The minister for Police affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), and the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Mike Okiro, Friday acknowledged receiving a petition against the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu for alleged partisanship in the Rivers State crisis and added that the police authorities had commenced investigation.
Also Friday, a High Court declined to grant an application by the Leader of Rivers State House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, seeking to stop the police from arresting him, while members of the assembly issued a statement asking Evans Bipialaka to stop parading himself as speaker.
Olubolade and Okiro spoke at the inauguration of 200 units of three-bedroom flats at Idimu, a sprawling Lagos suburb, belonging to the officers and men of the police, named Goodluck Jonathan Housing Estate.
Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi had in the petition demanded for the immediate re-deployment of Mbu due to the growing threat to his life, but Okiro said an investigation would first be carried out and that the outcome of investigation would determine the next line of action. Olubolade added that due process would be followed as regards the investigation.
The minister said the petition would receive adequate attention “because its content is weighty,” he however stressed that action could only be taken after detailed investigation had taken place.
He said there was no room in the force for erring and undisciplined policemen and noted that although there was the need for police officers to be alive to their responsibilities, they should however avoid partisan politics.
Olubolade said: “You are a police officer and not a politician and your duties as spelled out in the constitution are that of safe-guarding lives and properties of the citizenry. Any policeman that goes out of his or her way to abuse the constitution should get ready to face the wrath of the law.
“The petition against Mbu is weighty and expansive and so he cannot be disciplined without first of all giving him the opportunity to defend himself. So, now that we have gotten the petition against him, we intend to investigate it and if he is found culpable, he would be dealt with accordingly.”
Although the Rivers CP is billed to retire next year, police sources said if found culpable, he may be forced to retire this year as well as face other disciplinary measures from the Police Service Commission.
President Goodluck Jonathan who was in Lagos to inaugurate the new police apartments said it would serve as a moral booster for them and in essence get the desired result as regards the officers living up to their responsibilities.
Commending the police and the developers for the project, Jonathan said the buildings and other packages were part of his welfare package for men of the Force, “with a view to making it a better police force designed to tackle contemporary challenges.”
The President added: “This administration seeks security, enduring peace and to achieve that, we want a full, functional police force. Therefore, we will do all it takes to ensure the operational capability of the police.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers State High Court presided over by Justice Esor Teetito declined to grant Lloyd’s application seeking to stop the police from arresting him, insisting that it would be right for the parties to be served before granting any application.
The State Police Command had on Tuesday declared Lloyd wanted over alleged attempted murder of the member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency II, Michael Okechukwu Chinda, whom he was said to have allegedly attacked in a fight that occurred in the House on July 9.
In a matter brought before the court yesterday by counsel to Lloyd, Mr. Beluolisa Mofor (SAN), seeking to enforce his fundamental human rights and asking the court to stop his being arrested by the police, Teetito, directed all the parties involved to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the suit.
He therefore adjourned the matter to July 25 for hearing.
Members of the assembly also issued a statement yesterday asking Evans Bipialaka to stop parading himself as speaker.
He was warned to desist from impersonating the Speaker of the House, Otelemaba Amachree.
The lawmakers made the declaration yesterday in a press statement signed by 26 members stating the position of the majority of members on the crisis rocking the Assembly.
The statement chronicled the events leading to the purported impeachment claim by five members of the assembly and urged the public to disregard the claims.
“Since the botched impeachment attempt, one Evans Bipi has rather surreptitiously impersonated the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly in defiance and gross violation of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has gone ahead to make publications in the national media. We hereby call on the public to disregard the impostor (Evans Bapakaye Bipi) and his fabricated fallacies which is targeted at misinforming the general public.”
The lawmakers expressed their continued support for the Speaker of the Assembly and the Rivers State Governor.