Sacking Of Police Six: National Shame

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The Police High Command recently dismissed six police officers attached to the
security details of Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike over alleged misuse of firearms in their possession while in the governor’s convoy during the December 10, 2016 rerun legislative elections in Rivers State.
Prior to the elections, the police high command had withdrawn the Chief Security Officer of the governor, exposing his life to danger and later teamed up with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other security agencies to heavily militarise the state ahead of the election.
After its ignoble and shameful role in the said election, the police high command set up a 15-member Police Special Joint Investigative Panel on Rivers Rerun to, according to the panel chairman, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro, investigate “what transpired before, during and after the rerun elections and examine the role of security personnel in the elections”.
While The Tide believes that the police hierarchy reserves the right to discipline its officers found indulging in unprofessional conduct, we think that he who goes to equity must go with clean hands.
We believe that the conduct of the police high command itself, before, during and after the December 10, 2016 rerun elections in Rivers State deserves a judicial panel of inquiry.
It is against this backdrop that we salute the courage and decision of the Rivers State Governor in not only challenging the dismissal of the Police Six by the police hierarchy but also the setting up of the police panel on Rivers rerun.
The questions The Tide and other well-meaning Nigerians keep asking are: why the haste in trying the dismissed police officers secretly and firing them? Is their alleged crime not within the purview of the police panel of investigation?
Ironically, the police turned a blind eye to the shameful role of the Commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rivers State, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Akin Fakorede and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Steven Husso in raping the sanctity of the rerun polls in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in a state whose people had overwhelmingly entrusted their mandate to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The same Fakorede whom the police have refused to try for invading the Rivers East Senatorial District collation centre to snatch and falsify results in favour of the APC, is reportedly billed to arraign witnesses for the panel set up by the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
We note also that the police high command has remained silent since Christian Chukwuemeka Ekikeme, a member of the gang of suspected killers of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mohammed Alkali and his driver reportedly linked one Kachi Nwokocha, a top APC member and a former Commissioner for Power in ex-Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration as sponsors of the gang. How else can a self-serving kangaroo panel be composed?
We believe, as Governor Wike rightly told Deputy Commissioner Damian Okoro, while on a courtesy visit that his panel has a pre-determined motive of assisting the APC at the rerun election tribunal as well as indict Rivers people.
The Tide believes that the police under the present leadership has left its mandate of protecting all Nigerians to act as an arm of the ruling APC.
The dismissed officers obviously acted according to the regulations of their duties to protect their principal. Their dismissal is therefore a desecration of the sacred duty of the police and an affront on democracy.
This is why we call on the police high command to reinstate the six police officers who merely discharged their constitutional and legitimate duties to their principal.
While we commend the Rivers State Government for challenging the sacking of the officers in court while pledging to ensure that they and their families do not suffer, we call on the human rights family in Nigeria to challenge this brazen abuse of human rights in court. If not for any other thing else, the judgement will enrich our jurisprudence and strengthen our democracy.
We are however saddened by the intolerance of and assault on our nascent democracy by the ruling APC ahead of 2019 and the complicity of the police as attack dog in the build-up to the general elections which is still two years away.
Given the building blocks of democracy laid by the pioneering PDP government at the centre through promotion of human rights, non-interference with the legislative and judicial arms as well as INEC and the electoral process that brought in the present government, the APC administration should do no less, if democracy must flourish.
It is therefore imperative that the IGP must again reflect on his role and that of his officers and men in the rerun elections in Rivers State with a view to saving the police further embarrassment before the global community.
The Police Six should be reinstated and the APC induced Nigeria Police Special Joint Investigative Panel on Rivers Rerun should be disbanded as a first step to redeeming it’s battered image. The police need not consult the crystal ball to know that its confidence level among Nigerians is pathetically eroded on account of its partisanship and apparent role as an arm of the APC.
The IGP must ensure that the police under his watch is non-partisan and professional ahead of the 2019 general elections by ensuring the sustenance of democracy before and beyond the elections.
If the IGP finds this brief too difficult to accomplish then, he has no choice than to throw in the towel.