15 January 2014

Nigeria: Abe - Senate Committee Quizzes Mbu, Amaechi's Aide

The Senate Committee on Police Affairs has visited Rivers State to on a fact finding mission on the circumstances surrounding the alleged unlawful invasion of the rally organised by a non-governmental organisation, Save Rivers Movement (SRM), last Sunday by armed policemen in Port Harcourt .

The committee is also investigating the shooting of the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, by the police with teargas and rubber bullets.

The policemen were reported to have fired teargas canisters and rubber bullets at the group at the premises of the Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Rumuola in Port Harcourt.

The Senate committee, led by its chairman, Senator Igwe Paulinus Nwagu, arrived in Port Harcourt, the state capital yesterday and paid visits to the State Police Command, where they met with the commissioner of police, Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu, and went to Government House, Port Harcourt, where they interrogated the chief of staff to the governor, Hon. Tony Okocha. The committee also visited the State College of Arts and Science, on Rumuola-Rumuokwuta Road, in Port Harcourt, and the premises of a new generation church located within the vicinity, where most people, who were caught in the alleged shooting, ran into for safety.

Abe, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), was allegedly shot twice with rubber bullets by policemen on Sunday, as they disrupted the rally organised by SRM.

After being treated at two hospitals in Port Harcourt, the senator was later flown to London for proper medical attention.

Following the alleged shooting of the Senator Abe, a group, the Ogoni Leaders of Thought, has warned that the people may be forced to expel the Nigerian police from its territory if it continued to perpetrate impunity.

The Ogoni leaders from Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme (KAGOTE), representing the four council areas of the ethnic nationality, also described Sunday's incident in which Senator Abe was allegedly shot as an assassination attempt on another Ogoni son.

Speaking at a media briefing in Port Harcourt yesterday, the group, through Justice Peter Akere of Gokana, Dr Eddie Wikina of Khana, Dr Peter Medee of Tai (who is also president of KAGOTE) and Marcus Nle Eji of Eleme called for an immediate investigation on the shooting of Senator Abe.

They also said that allies of acts of impunity in Rivers State remained persona non-grata in all parts of Ogoniland.

"That this event provokes a bitter reminder of events of our recent past that led to the killing of our first generation leaders by the Nigerian State. Ogoni people will not stand by and watch a repeat of such dastardly actions that threatened the life of an Ogoni person."

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