The Rivers State Government has expressed shock over a remark credited to the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Dan Bature that certain comments purportedly made by Governor Rotimi Amaechi were meant to provoke him (Bature).
Mr. Bature, who was recently deployed to the state, was reported in the media as saying that Mr. Amaechi’s alleged comment that he was posted to the state on the orders of the President’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, to install the governor’s successor from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was meant to provoke him.
“Issues about my posting were largely speculative and very embarrassing. I was posted here on a national duty and I have told the people of the (Rivers) state that I will be very professional and provide level-playing ground for all”, Mr. Bature said.
He added that “whatever the speculations are, [they] are irrelevant. Whatever you read or heard were deliberate attempts to provoke me. My posting here was normal and I insist, very normal.
However, in a statement by its Commissioner for Information and Communications, Ibim Semenitari, on Monday, the state government said it wondered what the governor said that was meant to provoke the police boss.
It said although it was constrained to respond to Mr. Bature’s remark, there were deliberate attacks launched against the governor “in order to pitch an innocent man against his guest”.
The government said in recent publications and broadcasts, it was widely reported that Mr. Amaechi launched a verbal attack against the new Rivers police commissioner.
“In reaction, as was later reported too, in the media, CP Bature claimed Gov. Amaechi made the alleged remark to provoke him. But what are the facts?” it asked.
The statement added, “The PUNCH and THE NATION, two newspapers not owned by the Rivers State Government, reported what were supposed to be their stories. Neither Governor Amaechi nor the Rivers State Government had any link with the source or particulars of the said story.
“In the reports, the newspapers said the new Rivers Police Commissioner had been instructed by the Presidency (both papers fingered the First Lady) to use draconian style and tactics in causing crisis in Rivers State. Additionally, The PUNCH and THE NATION reported that Mr. Bature was to tackle Governor Amaechi, his supporters and Rivers people and then install a preferred governor for the state.
“THE NATION fingered the Presidency (again, the First Lady) in Bature’s deployment to Rivers State for the purpose of executing the said script. In no section of the story was Governor Amaechi named as source, or, alluded to as accessory to source either by direct or third person link”.
It reassured Mr. Bature that despite the obvious gospel of hate against the governor, he was welcomed to Rivers State.
It added, “In addition the Commissioner of Information and Communications and a state government delegation paid an official courtesy to CP Bature and even held a one-to-one meeting with the leadership of the Rivers State Police Command as a fallout of the original story that had made the news round.
“Assurances of mutual respect were shared at the meeting held at the Command’s headquarters. The Rivers State Government secured a binding commitment from the police that the new CP was going to work as a professional, not a politician, or, partisan. The Rivers State Government representatives left with that commitment, and true to the spirit of the dialogue, CP Bature mobilised his officers and men to provide security at the just concluded Port Harcourt International Fashion Week. We thank CP Bature and the entire Rivers state Police Command.
“It was therefore, with shock that we read comments attributed to the CP against the Governor. Well, we may take it that CP Bature must have been quoted out of context.
“We made bold to put it on record that at no time did Governor Amaechi speak ill of CP Bature. Except on the day AIG Tunde Ogunshakin, out-gone CP, and Mr. Bature visited the Governor at the Government House, at no other time had the governor met the CP or made any remark about or to him. So, we were shocked over the CP’s recent remarks that Governor Amaechi’s reported comments were meant to ‘provoke’ him”.
The statement also said “that for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reassure the new Commissioner of Police that the Rivers State Government stands by its pledge to work with the CP and a non-partisan Police Command”.