The House of Representatives yesterday issued a two-week ultimatum to President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the Inspector- General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, and the controversial Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr. Matthew Mbu.
The House took the decision during a session after unanimously adopting a motion by Hon. Aliyu Madaki (APC-Kano). Madaki, who raised his motion under Matters of Urgent National Importance, asked the House to issue a two-week ultimatum to the President to sack the police chief and his commissioner.
He said with the alleged growing impunity of the commissioner and the curious silence of the IG, it was clear that they were taking sides with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, against the government of Rivers State headed by Rotimi Amaechi.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, took a swipe at the Presidency for the state of insecurity in the country, insisting it must be addressed.
He said: “Recent developments in some parts of the country concerning civil liberties and the safety of lives and properties of citizens are a matter for serious concern.
“The two incidences in Rivers State, the one in Ogun and the other in Borno, bear all the trappings of impunity which must be eschewed at all cost if we hope to continue to deepen our democracy.
“On the part of government, it is imperative to be constantly reminded that the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government.
Accordingly, governance must be subject to the strict observance of the Rule of Law and good conscience, therefore civility rather than impunity should be our guide at all times and in all situations.
“The incidences in question exhibit an unacceptable level of either failure of government or abdication of responsibility neither of which should be encouraged in our polity.
“The situation in Rivers State is lamentable because the joint resolutions of the Senate and House of Representatives aimed at dousing the tensed political atmosphere have been ignored and today we are having a situation of gradual relapse into anarchy.
“On the part of politicians, I urge that we avoid recourse to unlawful and violent means of projecting our political interest and ambitions, rather let us adopt peaceful advocacy and networking. It has worked in other jurisdictions and it can work here if we give it a chance,” he said.
In a related development, Senator Magnus Abe has condemned the spate of politically-motivated violence rocking Rivers State in the recent past. He spoke from his sick bed in a London hospital where he had been recuperating since he was allegedly shot with a rubber bullet by the police about two weeks ago in Port Harcourt.
In a statement yesterday through his Special Aide on Media, Honour Sirawo, Abe expressed gratitude to friends, well meaning individuals, groups and Nigerians for their prayers, phone calls, solidarity messages and support during his trying period.
He, however, condemned last Sunday’s attack on the supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Bori, laying the blame on the door steps of the Federal Government.
Abe lamented that rather than implementing the United Nations Environmental Programme report on Ogoniland, the Federal Government had chosen to arm youths with guns worth millions of naira to maim and kill fellow human beings.
Abe warned against the dubious double-edged capability of deadly weapons being supplied to thugs to harm others.
“Every gun has a lifespan of over 100 years. As today’s friends may become opponents tomorrow, the guns will also change hands; but they will still remain lethal, even against their present owners,” he said.
Abe, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), maintained that rather than encourage violence to gain relevance in politics, he would continue to arm his supporters, just like his children with school fees, laptops, prayers and the fear of God.
He sued for the spirit of forgiveness as well as focus on set goals, stressing that the law as impossible as it may look today, will one day take its course.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned that with the introduction of ex-militants into the Rivers State crisis, the end point might be disastrous. The party also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene before the situation went out of control.
“Having lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect them and keenly aware of the President’s deliberate refusal to allow peace to reign in their state, the patience of the people of Rivers is wearing thin, and there is an increasing possibility that they may resort to self help, which can only result in a blood bath,’’ the party warned in a statement issued in Abuja by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“Because we abhor anarchy, which is the very antithesis of democracy, we hereby call, for the umpteenth time, on President Jonathan to act today to stop the looming anarchy in Rivers unless of course he is bent on throwing the country he was elected to govern into chaos,” it said.
APC also warned that the decision of the desperate pro-Jonathan politicians and their supporters in Rivers to resort to ferrying in exmilitants from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom to cause mayhem in Rivers and make it ungovernable for Governor Amaechi will have far-reaching consequences in the months ahead, most serious of which is that it will revive militancy not only in Rivers but in the entire South-South.
“The ex-militants, who are being hired daily by the anarchists in Rivers today, will turn against them and the people tomorrow when, one way or the other, the present situation in the state is resolved.
“The outcome will be a resurgence of insecurity, including hostage taking and attacks on oil and other infrastructure, in the entire region.
This is why we are warning those who believe they are having a free rein today to tarry a while and retrace their steps,” the party said.
It expressed absolute shock that a President who has been widely quoted as saying his political ambition is not worth the blood of any citizen is now standing by, pretending to be oblivious to the happenings around him, as the same citizens’ blood is being used to water his ambition to have a second term in office.
“This President has deliberately refused to listen to the calls by numerous individuals and organisations, including the opposition parties, labour unions and the National Assembly for peace to be allowed to reign in Rivers.
“He has tacitly egged on the police to champion the worsening impunity in the state and even thumbed his nose at the Constitution, while the Police Service Commission has suddenly lost its steam and is even defending the arrowhead of the anarchy in Rivers.
“It is instructive that while the police have stood by and allowed hired exmilitants to attack innocent citizens whose only offence is that they are exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of association, movement and speech, the same police have provided protection for pro-Jonathan and anti-Amaechi elements who have turned the state into a battle ground.
“It is in this light that we reiterate our fears of a looming anarchy, which is the outcome of months of impunity, as the man who swore to an oath to ensure the welfare and security of all citizens the raison d’etre for any government has now become the quiet sponsor of violence against the same citizens. It is time to stop the madness in Rivers,” APC said