Police Raid On Clark’s Residence

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Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, penultimate Tuesday, invaded the Abuja private residence of elder statesman and vocal Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark over spurious allegations of stockpiling of arms and ammunition.
The police operatives had claimed that they secured search warrant on the ‘orders’ of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) following a whistleblower’s unverified information that the Former Federal Information Commissioner and Senator of the Federal Republic was keeping dangerous weapons in his Asokoro private residence.
On arrival, the police operatives brandished a search warrant before Clark, who gave them go ahead to search the house. The policemen were said to have ransacked all the rooms in the house, including the South-South leader’s and his wife’s rooms and other rooms for two hours, during which no single person was allowed to enter or leave the premises.
After the search, the four-man police team confirmed that they did not see any incriminating evidence, wrote and signed a no-crime clearance report, which the leader of the National Elders and Leaders’ Forum (NELF) coalition comprising Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum and Northern Elders’ Forum, also countersigned, and handed over to his lawyers afterwards.
Narrating his ordeal, Clark said, “If at my age, I will be accused of stockpiling weapons in my house, it is too bad”… “I have never thought of carrying gun. I have been fighting for the unity of this country. If at the age of 92, I am making statements, and they do not want me to talk (on national issues), I will continue to talk, that is my position.”
Indeed, PANDEF, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), all governors and leaders in the South-South as well as critical stakeholders across the country and in the Diaspora, roundly condemned the embarrassing invasion, and added that the unbecoming illegal police action was unacceptable and uncalled for in any democracy.
They, therefore, challenged the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to immediately investigate the raid, arrest and prosecute those found culpable to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to toe that path in future, especially as the political events leading to the 2019 General Elections gather momentum.
However, the IGP denied knowledge of the raid, and ordered immediate probe and detention of those involved in the shameful and unwarranted act.
Consequently, the Police High Command, last Thursday, announced the dismissal of three inspectors – Godwin Musa, Sada Abubakar and Yabo Paul – allegedly involved in the raid after they were tried under Oath in Orderly Room; and placed the fourth officer, ASP David Dominic, on interdiction, pending the decision of the Police Service Commission for offences ranging from discreditable conduct, illegal duty, disobedience of lawful order, misconduct contrary to rule of law to negligence of duty.
Force Public Relations Officer, Acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, also confirmed the arraignment before Upper Area Court, Mpape, Abuja, of one Ismail Yakubu, for giving false information and telling falsehood that misled police action, and apologized to Clark for the embarrassing invasion of his residence.
The Tide joins millions of Nigerians to condemn the illegal police invasion of Clark’s private residence. Regrettably that is not the first time the police have been involved in such despicable and bizarre action. We recall that just a few weeks ago, the same police operatives besieged the official residences of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, with a view to prevent them from performing their official duties of presiding over plenary at the Senate.
Few days later, masked operatives of the DSS barricaded all entrances to the National Assembly and denied lawmakers access to their offices of both chambers of parliament.
We also recall that recently, security agents were deployed to raid the official residences of serving judges in parts of the country. These unsavory actions add to other acts of impunity, intimidation and brazen abuse of perceived opposition citizens’ rights and freedom of speech, movement, association and assembly enshrined in the Constitution.
We note that these acts of impunity, intimidation, and abuse of rule of law portend grave danger to Nigeria’s democracy, peace and unity. We say so because the body language and actions of virtually all state institutions in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government now tilt towards a compromised agenda to coerce dissenting voices and force them into submission to the whims and caprices of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Tide warns that such moves could threaten the sovereignty and indivisibility of our country and undermine the sacrifices of our heroes’ past. This is why we caution the Federal Government to tread softly, and avoid using security agencies to execute the agenda of the ruling party at the detriment of the common man, to prevent the country from descending into the abyss of anarchy and totalitarianism. We insist that the descent to authoritarianism in a progressive democracy such as ours is unacceptable.
While we commend the IGP’s action on the police officers involved in the illegal raid of Clark’s residence, we urge all security agencies in the country to ensure their personnel play by the rule of law, particularly before, during and after the 2019 General Elections, because their neutral conduct would be key to deciding the credibility of the electoral process.
Nigerians must stand up now against all forms of impunity. Enough is enough!