A bulletproof Range Rover SUV belonging to the immediate past Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, has been impounded by security operatives acting on the orders of the state governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike.
The bullet-proof vehicle was removed from Okocha’s residence at Rumuigbo in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area at about 9am on Saturday by security operatives.
This is the second time the Wike administration has confiscated vehicles purportedly belonging to the state government but in possession of officials of the former administration of Rotimi Amaechi.
The first victim of Gov. Wike’s directive was former Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, whose Lexus SUV was removed from her residence by security operatives on June 18, 2015.
Speaking on the development, Mr. Okocha said he was away in Abuja, where he had gone to observe proceedings of the Rivers Election Petition Tribunal, when he was informed that the vehicle had been impounded on the orders of Gov. Wike.
The former Chief of Staff pointed out that though he was not angry by Wike’s action, he was only surprised at the governor’s seeming introduction of militarism into democracy.
According to him, “I have just been informed of the forceful confiscation of my status car in the usual brigandage and ‘Rambo’ approach, which typifies the new caretaker administration in Rivers State.
“I am not, however, surprised at the uncouth action, knowing Mr. Wike’s nuances like the back of my hand, but I warn that this seeming introduction of militarism into our democratic experience and the attendant ignominies may well become our bane if not checked”.
He, however, disagreed with the claim that the Range Rover parked in his residence was without its four tyres when it was taken away.
“Is it possible to remove the tyres of the vehicle that I drive always? It is a white lie to say that the vehicle was parked without tyres.
“If they think they are saying the truth, let them show pictures of the vehicle while it was being removed. They must have used a forklift to remove it”, Okocha said.
But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, insisted that there was no way an armoured Range Rover would be a status car of a chief of staff, Government House.
Inko-Tariah, who maintained that the vehicle was without its tyres when security operatives removed it from where it was parked in Okocha’s residence, noted that the bulletproof Range Rover was the property of the state government.
“As chief of staff, he (Okocha) has no right to use a bulletproof car without leave from government. Yes, a bulletproof Range Rover was recovered from his (Okocha) residence.
“However, what is staggering is that he removed all the tyres to demobilise the car and obviously to frustrate recovery.
“That act in itself is highly suspicious and obviates the need for any further evidence that it was stolen from Government House. You don’t need to remove the tyres of your car if there are no sinister plots”, Wike’s aide argued.