That Police Panel Comical Display On Rivers

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In utter, flagrant and arrogant defiance of the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the Police High Command’s probe panel on the December 10, 2016 re-run elections in Rivers State last Tuesday submitted its report to the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
And in a manner reminiscent of the clownings of some characters in Nollywood and the Yoruba comical play, Alawada, the Panel Chairman, Damian Okoro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), while presenting his panel’s report, displayed N113 million purportedly given as bribe to the 23 electoral officers in Rivers State.
Explaining that the said money was part of the N360 million bribe the Rivers State Government allegedly spent in executing the re-run elections in the state, DCP Okoro stated that the N113 million was tendered as exhibit during the proceedings of the panel’s assignment.
The panel chairman further hinted that the electoral officers received N15 million each to subvert the electoral process in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government  swiftly reacted to the panel report, describing it as laughable, shameful and unacceptable.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr. Austin Tam-George said the whole melodrama was a ploy to implicate the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Insisting that there is no iota of truth in the said report, Dr. Tam-George accused the police of complicity and desperation to rope in the governor.
Said the Information and Communications Commissioner: “Never in the annals of infamy have we seen a vital state security outfit descend to the lowest  depths of blackmail and criminality as the Nigerian Police Force has done in this case”.
We cannot agree less with the Commissioner, especially against the backdrop of the fact that the police exceeded its constitutional and conventional mandate by shamelessly meddling into electoral matters which are strictly and squarely within the confines of the courts of law which orders, it rountinely disobeys with scorn and disdain.
The police cannot be a complainant, prosecutor and judge in its own case, hence, The Tide condemns the report in its entirety as it is a grand conspiracy between the Police and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to subvert the will of Rivers people.
It is surprising that despite an Abuja High Court order stopping it, the police kangaroo panel went ahead in a manner that clearly suggests that the state government had been pre-tried, pre-judged and pre-condemned even before the commencement of the panel’s unholy and illegal task.
In the said report which is utterly contemptuous of the court, no mention was made of the sacked Police Six and the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and his orderly who were killed on the orders of an APC chieftain in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government (ONELGA).
Yet, to add insult to injury, the panel exonerated the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad Commander, DSP Akin Fakorede and the Operations Chief, Hassan who were caught on camera aiding and abetting electoral fraud to subvert the electoral process.
For all intents and purposes, the police report leaves much to be desired. How was the N113 million recovered and tendered as exhibit? Was it recovered from the bank or from the electoral officers’ houses? These questions remain unanswered by the report. The onus of proof, therefore, lies on the police, a proof that has not been established in the Rivers re-run election saga till this day.
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands, so goes a popular saying. But the police have woefully failed to come clean in this instance, and therefore, that panel report remains a sham, diversionary and only good for the dustbin.
While The Tide urges the Rivers State Government to pursue the matter already in an Abuja High Court to its logical conclusion, a full-scale independent investigation outside the police has become imperative as it (the Police) has, from all indications, compromised and acted outside its core mandate as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.