Police shooting: Senate committee on Police begins fact finding in Rivers

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Chief of Staff Government House Port Harcourt Chief Tony Okocha answering questions from Senator Igwe Paulinus Nwagu Chairman Senate Committee on Police Affairs and Senator Hadi Serika (member) during their visit to Port Harcourt

The Senate Committee on Police have began a fact finding  on the circumstances surrounding the alleged unlawful invasion of the rally organized by a non-governmental organization, the Save Rivers Movement last Sunday by armed policemen.

The committee will also investigate the alleged shooting of the Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District Senator Magnus Ngei Abe by the Police with teargas and rubber bullets, and will further present their report to the National Assembly for proper deliberation and resolution on the matter.

Chairman of Senate Committee on Police, Senator Igwe Paulinus Wagwu disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday when he led members of the committee on a visit to the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in Port Harcourt.

According to him, “We are here in Rivers State to carry out fact finding on the incident that happened last Sunday where it was alleged that the police shot teargas and rubber bullets, which incidentally, also affected Senator Magnus Abe.

“We have not concluded our investigation yet, when we have concluded our investigation, we will submit our report to the National Assembly for their deliberation and resolution on the matter”, Senator Igwe said.

Asked why the delay in the deployment of the State Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu out of Rivers State, Senator Igwe said the National Assembly had stated it’s position on the immediate deployment of Mbu, but expressed regrets that the matter involving the state police commissioner was still in court and prayed that justice be done.

Earlier, during a brief interview by the committee on Police Affairs, with the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Tony Okocha, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Igwe told Okocha that they were in Rivers State to find out what happened, the level of participation, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Okocha told the committee that a non-governmental organization, the Save Rivers Movement, while on a sensitization and mobilization mission informed the police in Rivers State in writing of it’s intention to organize a rally in support of the All Progressive Congress Party (APC) for the Obio-Akpor Chapter.

Okocha said, “On Saturday evening, January 11, 2014, I was at the premises of Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Rumuola where the stage for the rally was set up and we expected that in the following morning, the rally will hold as planned by the Save Rivers Movement.

“On Sunday morning, as early as 6am my phone rang and the call said, the police, about five (5) troopers had besieged the premises and dismantled the canopies, chairs and table arranged for the event, while teargas was shot to disperse the crowd that morning.

“When I got to the venue, I saw crowd of Policemen, including three Armored personnel carriers (APC), and also saw how the venue was upturned by the police. It was not too long I met Senator Magnus Abe, and the police continued the shooting of teargas and rubber bullets.

“One of the rubber bullets hit me on the left arm of my leg and also touched Senator Abe, right now, I can’t walk properly. Despite the police invasion, we were armless. When we saw that Magnus Abe had been injured, we managed to put him into a vehicle that took him to the Hospital for medical treatment, before he was flown abroad”.

Okocha further expressed disappointment at the Police for slanting its politically motivated attack on law-abiding citizens to gain political favour, which he said was against the interest of Rivers people in the current democratic setting.

He called on the Senate Committee to find lasting solution to end the height of impunity against Rivers citizens by the police.


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