A battle line appears to be drawn between the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Adamu Abubakar, for allegedly going against his decision on the total lockdown of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Governments, the two major cities in the state.
He accused the deputy commissioner of police of daring him by ordering the release of people he had apprehended, arrested and ordered that they be detained for moving about the state capital.
He however commended the Army and other security agencies for their efforts in ensuring that people complied with the stay-at-home-directive.
But he gave the indication that he was going to deal decisively with the police boss. He did not however say exactly what he would do, as the police do not report to him. But he noted that the state security council meeting would deal with the situation.
“The Deputy Commissioner of Police will sign approvals for companies because he wants to collect money. I am the governor of this state and there cannot be two governors.” He said the approvals issued by the police or any other authorities, outside the ones issued by his office were illegal.
“The deputy commissioner of police has no powers to issue approvals when the State Government has locked down the state. After the State Security Council met and agreed on the lockdown, the deputy commissioner of police went ahead to issue illegal letters to companies to operate. I have never seen that in my life.
The governor said that all those who were arrested violating the lockdown will be prosecuted by the state government.
He said:”All these violators must be prosecuted at the mobile court set for this purpose. What we are doing is not for any particular individual, it is for the interest of the state.”
Wike assured Rivers people that the lockdown will be lifted as soon as the objective was achieved. He said: “Our people are suffering, I agree. But this is something we must do. When we examine the level of compliance and it is reasonable, of course, we will unlock the two Local Government Areas.
He said: “I have called for an emergency security Council meeting by 3pm today. This is a complete sabotage by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Rivers State Police Command. We will deal with that accordingly.
“For the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) to sabotage us, that will not be accepted. I arrested those people and he had the guts to tell them to release those I arrested on the road because he is collecting money from companies. That is unacceptable.”
Wike insisted that the impounded vehicles would be auctioned, adding that “the defaulters will be tried by the Mobile Courts and I have told the Attorney General, all the impounded vehicles must be auctioned. By tomorrow, the Honourable Attorney General would have advertised those vehicles and we will auction them.
Ayade, PDP Chair rascally lawless, says SAN
Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
As the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Cross River state chapter continues to heighten, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mba Ukweni has described the state governor, Ben Ayade and the suspended chairman of the party, Inok Edim as rascally lawless people.
Ukweni said in an interview with TNN over the telephone that the faction of the party which was enjoying the support of the governor, which had approached the court, was still going against the provisions of the law.
He said: “They cannot take matters to court and still be behaving as if they have not gone to court. It means that they don’t even believe in the court they have gone to. That is lawlessness of the highest order. The national has brought out a list and has written to the state chairman to swear in these people and it is disrespect for the state chairman to disobey the national executive committee’s decision.
“Even if he had to complain, you obey first. You don’t expect your subordinates to obey you when you can’t obey the person on top of you. I don’t also see the possibility of a body that is not properly constituted going to suspend her members, including the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Hon. Efa Nyong Esua.”
He also spoke on the way and manner the primary for local government elections were conducted, accusing the governor and state chairman of filling the list without properly following procedures. He said it was the duty of the national body to conduct all the primaries, including that of councillors.
He also faulted the National body of the party for not properly investigating the issues earlier brought to them and for condoning the wrong things the governor has been doing in the state. He noted that the governor is acting the way he is acting because the national has refused to condone his current actions.
“All the governor wants is to have access to local government money. Political struggles are not for fun. We already have a pending matter in court that would have nullified the local government elections. There is no properly constituted Cross River State Electoral Independent Commission, CROSEIC to conduct elections.
“There are three government bodies that you don’t dissolve; CROSEIC, Judicial Service and Civil Service commissions; the governor dissolved all of them and went ahead to announce the date for local government elections which is not in his power to do. He made all those mistakes.”
The senior legal practitioner who is also a caucus member of the party further revealed that the governor only went to recall the dissolved CROSEIC chairman to conduct the election without following the appropriate procedures for reappointment.