The Nigerian Police Force has dismissed six policemen over roles they played during the legislative rerun elections held in Rivers state last December.
The men – an inspector and five sergeants – were accused of misusing their firearms during the elections. They are ex-Inspct. Eyong Victor, ex-Sgts. Peter Ekpo, Oguni Goodluck, Orji Nwoke, Okpe Ezekiel and Tanko Akor.
Although election observers described the election as fraught with irregularities as the two main parties – PDP and APC – tried to outdo each other, all the six sanctioned policemen were attached to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Wike described the sack of the policemen as “sad.” He called for their immediate reinstatement to allow for an independent inquiry.
“The police officers were subjected to a secret and unfair trial on totally fictitious charges of professional misconduct during the rerun elections in Rivers State on December 10, 2016,” the governor said in a statement by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr. Austin Tam-George. “This is a tragic day for professionalism and the respect for human rights in the Nigeria Police Force.
The governor said the allegations against the police officers are “cruel fabrications” simply because they foiled a “carefully-orchestrated electoral heist by officials of INEC in collusion with the APC and the Nigeria Police Force.”
“Governor Wike did not depart from his official premises on the day of the elections and therefore had no use for an armed convoy.
“Two days after the elections, on December 12, 2016, thousands of Rivers people, led by Governor Wike, resisted an invasion by the police on the premises of the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, in a brazen attempt to rig the elections in favour of the APC.
“The Port Harcourt City Council was the election collation centre for the Rivers East Senatorial District.
“Throughout the period of the stand off between the invading police officers and the thousands of citizens who resisted them, Governor Wike and the officers around him conducted themselves with utmost restraint.
“The dismissed officers are therefore the latest victims of the medieval dictatorship of the APC government. A government that seems to lurch blindly in the miasma of its own incompetence and intolerance.”
Wike alleged that the APC government had never hidden its desperation to overrun Rivers State, colonise its people and loot the treasury of the state, adding that Rivers people would continue to resist all attempts to enslave them.
However, the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) described the dismissal of six policemen for unethical conduct during the December 10 legislative rerun in the state as a clear indictment of Governor Wike.
Speaking through its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, in Port Harcourt yesterday, the party maintained that the decision of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to dismiss the six errant policemen who flouted his directive not to support politicians to rig elections was a step that would ensure sanity in the Nigeria Police Force.
APC in Rivers said: “The dismissal of the six policemen is a clear indictment on Wike over his violation of electoral regulations in the December 10 rerun elections in Rivers State.
“We believe that it is just a tip of the iceberg of what will be unravelled that were perpetrated by the Rivers State governor during the rerun.
“Nigerians are waiting for the IGP’s panel report that will seal the fate of Wike and his accomplices within the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”