15 January 2014

Nigeria: Attack On Abe - Senate C'ttee Quizzes Rivers CP

Port Harcourt — SENATE Committee on Police Affairs, yesterday, met with Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Mbu, over last Sunday's incident at the College of Arts and Science, Port Harcourt, where Senator Magnus Abe was allegedly shot by the Police with rubber bullets.

Senator Abe was allegedly shot as the Police fired teargas to disperse those that had gathered for a rally organised by Save Rivers Movement.

Meanwhile, Ogoni Leaders of Thought, has called for an investigation into what it termed the near assassination of Senator Abe by the Police on Sunday, in Port Harcourt.

Describing the alleged action of the Police as an attempted murder, the Ogoni leaders, in a statement by Justice Peter Akere (rtd) and others, said that the Ogoni would not hesitate to demand the vacation of the Nigeria Police from its territory, if their alleged acts of impunity were not stopped.

Also, a civil rights group, Human Rights Agenda Network, HRAN, has called on the Inspector General of Police to suspend CP Mbu and investigate his role in the political crises in the state.

It noted that Mbu's conduct in the last one year clearly showed that he has political interests to serve and has personally continued to aggravate the crises in the state.

"The role of the police is to maintain law and order, and this is not possible where the head of the Police Command in the state continuously confronts the state governor, and display clear inclinations to partiality in the political scene," HRAN said in a statement by its Chair, Mr Chino Obiagwu.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Paulinus Igwe, told newsmen, that they were in the state on a fact finding mission, adding that his committee was not on a witch hunting exercise.

Senator Igwe, who arrived with Senator Hadi Sirika, assured that his committee would go about its job without bias.

"The Police Committee is not here to witchhunt anybody. Ours is to be unbiased. The Police should open up and tell us what happened," he said.

The state Police Commissioner, who fielded questions from the committee earlier in his office, said that the state Police Command does not have rubber bullets.

The Police boss, who maintained that only canisters of teargas were fired to disperse the gathering, said that the Save Rivers Movement did not obtain Police permit for the ally.

"What were expended on that day were canisters of tear gas. Police only use live bullets when repelling robbers," he said.

At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Mr. Tony Okocha, reiterated before the committee that the Police shot at Senator Abe with rubber bullets at close range.

The committee also visited the College of Arts and Science scene of the incident with the Police Commissioner, Mr. Mbu.

The Ogoni Leaders of Thought, on their part, said: "We demand an immediate investigation into the events leading to the near assassination of Senator Abe. We join the National Assembly and other well meaning Nigerians to condemn the persistent acts of impunity perpetrated by the Nigeria Police in Rivers State and ask for the immediate removal of CP Mbu from the state. In the event of continued acts of impunity, the Ogoni people will not hesitate to demand the vacation of the Nigeria Police from our territory."

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