by Paul Osas
Only last month, the Rivers police commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu, was saying he would not exchange words with the governor, Rotimi Amaechi. All that is in the past now as the commissioner has decided to respond to remarks made by Gov. Amaechi on Tuesday while receiving former Minister of Petroleum Prof. Tam David-West.
The governor had accused Mbu of engaging in activities that are negatively affecting the fragile security of the state. He also said Mbu reports directly to Abuja and goes back to reveal who says what during internal security meetings.
However on Thursday in Port Harcourt, Mbu fired back at Amaechi, accusing the governor of running a “tyrannical and dictatorial government, and expecting everybody here to say yes sir to him, and I said I will not say yes sir to him, I will not because I must be a professional and I will stand tall.”
Mbu went on to give details on the issues he has with the governor.
He insisted that contrary to claims by Gov. Amaechi, crime wave in the state has “drastically come down since I came here, because people who were not always on their seats before are now at alert. I call them by 2:00am they are awake, they are on patrol.
“On my own, I have refurbished 12 Hilux patrol vehicles, how can you tell me that the crime wave has gone up. I have respect for the governor; I have respect to the office of the governor, but let him also have respect for the Police. The office of the governor is a revered office, it is an office that has respect. Sometimes silence is golden but sometimes it could be mistaken or misconstrued for acceptance.
“I have very high regard for his Excellency the Executive governor of this state, Rotimi Amaechi, but his attacks on me are going beyond bounds and there is need for me to clarify some of the issues.”
Mbu denied reporting decisions of security meetings to Abuja as alleged by the governor saying security meetings were not formally held. He added: “I told him that my loyalty to the IGP is total.”
Explaining his disagreement with the governor over who chairs Internal Security meetings in the state, Mbu said a letter from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) directed the commissioner of police to chair the meeting, but that Amaechi insisted that it should be rotated.
As he puts it: “One issue I have had with the governor is who chairs internal security meetings in the state. He, (governor) said we should rotate it but I said no, there is a letter from the NSA on this.
“It is the commissioner of police that does. I told him if my predecessors did not do what was right I won’t follow them. The commissioner of police is to chair the forum and assume responsibility to brief the governor. I told him the Inspector-General of police has so many sources of information. I told the governor that my loyalty to the governor is total, I am not here for any agenda. I have respect for the office of the governor and the governor of the state, but let him (governor) also have respect for the police and me,” he said.
Mbu also vowed to arrest Tony Okocha, the Chief of Staff to Governor Amaechi over a matter involving him and the President of the Port Harcourt Club. He said Okocha is seeking court protection in vain. Amaechi had accused Mbu of giving more security cover to the Port Harcourt club chair Sylvester Wiyioma and the club premises than other important places in the state.
But Mbu said he did that following attempts on the life of the club president and the club property. He noted that Okocha was linked to that and had been invited by the police to make statement in that regard.
Mbu said, “the chief of staff has gone to court asking the court to restrain me from arresting him; I am not yet ready for him. There is no court in this world that can grant such a prayer. Which means everybody will go to court after he/she had committed a crime to get an injunction to avoid arrest. It is based on this that more policemen were drafted to Port Harcourt club.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, described Mbu’s comments on Amaechi as “most unfortunate’’.
“Mbu’s comments are most unfortunate, but we will prefer to address the matters raised administratively,’’ she said.