Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mbu yesterday continued their war of words over the recent dispersal of 13,000 teachers newly recruited by the state government on the guise that they were miscreants mobilized to protest against President Goodluck Jonathan.
While Gov. Amaechi accused Mr. Mbu of fabricating lies to justify his nefarious actions, the police chief said the 13,000 newly recruited teachers, who were at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt on Wednesday to collect their posting letters, are “touts and miscreants” and he would not hesitate to abort any such gatherings in the state without police permit.
The police commissioner, at a news conference yesterday, claimed that he acted based on a security report that the people at the stadium were hired to disrupt the peace in the state.
He alleged that the new teachers employed by the Amaechi administration were specifically mobilized to embark on a protest against President Jonathan, just as he added that the actual number of persons at the Liberation Stadium were 18,000 youths and not 13,000 teachers as claimed.
Mr. Mbu displayed some of the mutilated placards he claimed to have recovered from the teachers, with the following inscriptions: “It is time for the North”, “Amaechi for VP”, “North for President” and “Amaechi for Vice-President 2015,” to back up his allegation.
His words: “The truth is that the government of the state (Rivers) is trying to keep the police perpetually at work by distracting us. Those ‘newly-employed teachers’ were hired youths.
“They were hired to carry placards and protest against the President of the country. I am here to show you the placards. They were called to go there. In all, they did not invite the police. Nobody invited the police.
“My informants called me that they were not called to be given letters, but were given cardboards to protest against President Jonathan. They tore these things (placards) into pieces. We put them together. As a Commissioner of Police, whose ears are on the ground, I will always abort such gatherings.”
But Gov. Amaechi, who spoke through the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, said: “On Wednesday, policemen, on Mbu’s orders, chased out 13,000 newly-recruited teachers, who gathered at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, to collect their posting letters.
“The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to allegations of gross impropriety levelled against it by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu, to the effect that 13,000 newly-employed teachers were hired touts and miscreants, engaged to embark on protest in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
“In a media briefing addressed by the Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu, he displayed placards allegedly carried by the 13,000 teachers, whom he described as miscreants.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Rivers State Government does not have to bandy words with the state police command, whose stock-in-trade is to fabricate lies at every instance, to justify its nefarious actions.”
Okocha labeled the police boss and the state police command as “pathological liars” and went on to cite the case of Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, the Dean of the Anglican Church, whom they (police) claimed to have rescued from kidnappers den but turned out his abductors released him of their own free will.
The incident reportedly led to the removal of DSP Angela Agabe as the state Police Public Relations Officer.
“Mr Mbu is a bad taste and we urge Rivers people not to be distracted by his many deafening lies”, Okocha added.
“For the records, the 13,000 teachers converged on the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, to collect their letters of posting to their various duty posts. This fact can be verified by any objective mind,” the Chief of Staff concluded.