Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has described a former Commissioner of Police in the state, Joseph Mbu, as a politician in police uniform, who almost caused a total collapse of the economy of the state.
Mr. Mbu, was the state Police Commissioner until his redeployment in February to head the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Command.
While he served in Rivers State, the former commissioner, who was among the 18 police officers recently elevated to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, did not see eyeball-to-eyeball with Mr. Amaechi.
Tunde Ogunsakin was sent to replace Mr. Mbu after the governor repeatedly demanded the police boss’ transfer from the state.
Mr. Ogunsakin was, however, redeployed recently while a new commissioner, Dan Bature, was posted to the state.
Receiving the outgoing and incoming police bosses in his office Thursday, Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, said Mr. Mbu abandoned his professional role of protecting lives and property to serve members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“Unlike Joseph Mbu, who clearly showed us that he was a registered member of PDP, in your (Mr. Ogunsakin) own case, you know that we had disagreement, but you realized your responsibility to ensure the security of lives and property as the paramount responsibility of the Nigerian Police”, Amaechi said.
“It is important you keep that peace and I wish to thank you for that peace. I am also sure Rivers people are happy about that. The way Mr. Mbu was going, Rivers economy would have been completely destroyed. Fortunately for us, they took him away and brought you (Ogunsakin) and you restored calm. You tried to create a platform for all parties to have access to reach you. As you go, please, go with that same spirit. The police in Rivers State should discharge their responsibility as it concerns the protection of lives and property”, the governor added.
Amaechi recalled that in 2007 while taking the oath of office, he had declared that if the Federal Government refused to provide legitimate source of livelihood for Nigerians in Rivers State, they would provide for themselves illegitimate source of livelihood.
He said the same thing would happen if the Federal Government failed to cater for Nigerians in the state.
“That includes kidnapping, robbery, stealing by people who will hire or provide police or military uniforms. And that illegitimate source of livelihood becomes its own economy, which automatically frightens the legitimate economy”, he added.
Turning to the new Rivers Police Commissioner, Mr. Amaechi advised him not to be involved in politics, but instead ensure there was social justice because the absence of social justice engender breakdown of law and order.
He said, “Now in the same manner, when it comes to security, as a former student leader, I understand that immediately the police become partisan in politics and do not provide security for everybody, other parties will be compelled to provide security for themselves.
“I know this as a politician since 1987 when I joined politics. And, one thing about security is that, it is cash-based. They will provide for themselves the means to which to protect themselves. The Nigeria Police is supposed to mingle and have the confidence of the Nigerian people.
“But, the moment it becomes the agent of the other party, then you are no longer the Nigerian Police. You automatically lose that title. You are coming into a situation where the right thing must be done according to social justice; the absence of it is what breeds crime and resistance.
“The only thing we ask you is social justice. If you ask any of the commissioners of police who served in Rivers State, I have never requested for favours because I don’t have the need for it. We believe in law and order. But, when you don’t keep law and order, what you are inviting and get is resistance. If you keep to social justice, believe me, you will be the friend of everybody. The Rivers State Government will continue to support you once that is kept.
“But if it is not kept, you can ask Mbu to confirm that when we found out that he was a card carrying member of PDP, we stopped funding the police and they were not too happy. But, we will fund the Nigerian Police if you continue to maintain your responsibility”.
Responding, Mr. Bature assured the governor that he would not only perform his professional duty, but also ensure the economic development of the state.