The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency put an end to the worsening reign of impunity in Rivers State, which is being perpetrated under his watch by those, who it said are obviously acting to impress him and the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, an indigene of the state.
APC in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the call became necessary following the irresponsible act of brigandage by the police, which stopped a peaceful and lawful rally billed for the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state today by the Save Rivers Movement (SRM), an organization campaigning against the impunity of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-controlled Federal Government against the government and people of Rivers State.
”The police went to the venue of the rally, pulled down the erected canopies and fired tear gas at everyone around there and even into nearby homes, with the result that five children are now feared to have died from suffocation due to this shameful Gestapo-style action of the police, who are being funded by taxpayers to protect the lives and property of the same citizens they are now brutalizing and killing.
”Not only that, they injured the Chief of Staff to Gov. Chibuike Amaechi and fired a supposed rubber bullet, at point blank range, at Senator Magnus Abe, who is now gravely injured. The Senator is believed to have been deliberately targeted for attack by the police.
”We understand that the exceptional brutal clampdown on the planned rally by the police, who seem to have now surpassed even their own act of brutality against the people of the state, was aimed at impressing the First Lady, believed to be due in Port Harcourt on the same day (Sunday)”, it said.
The opposition party argued that it was unheard of for a Commissioner of Police in any state to be so bold as to be waging a war against an elected Governor and his aides/supporters if not for the fact that he is being empowered to do so by higher authorities, adding that everyone knows that the impenitent Rivers Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu believes he is now the de facto Governor of Rivers because he has the support of the Presidency to exhibit impudence.
”Mbu, who is going down in Nigeria’s history as a classic example of an officer of the law turned the biggest violator of the law, has not only defied the resolutions of the National Assembly, he has also thumbed his nose at the ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). He is the Alternate Inspector General of the Police who takes orders only from a conniving presidency”, the party said.
It said the only reason the impunity in Rivers could have continued unchecked is because it is a dress rehearsal for what is being planned for 2015, hence the party has continued to raise the alarm over the instigated crisis in Rivers.
”Since this reign of impunity started, the Rivers Governor has been barred from accessing his official residence by the police; Members of the State House of Assembly have been tear-gassed and harassed endlessly; the plane owned by the state government has been grounded, using the institutions of state; and even a chartered plane bearing the Governor has been prevented from takeoff, not minding that the member of the state House of Assembly which the plane was supposed to be carrying was not on board. No one has apologized for this chutzpah.
”This is all happening under the watch of a President who has been widely quoted as saying his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. The statement now rings hollow, considering what is happening in Rivers and elsewhere, which is generally regarded as a sign of things to come ahead of 2015.
”President Jonathan should act today to bring Rivers State and indeed Nigeria back from the brink of lawlessness. His body language must discourage the likes of Mbu from turning Nigerian into a lawless nation. He must differentiate his position as the leader of the PDP from his perch as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, APC said