• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Residents Commend Police Neutrality, Proactiveness Amid Rivers State Crisis

Amid escalating political tensions in Rivers State, residents have praised the Police Command for its professionalism, neutrality, and proactive measures. The commendations came after police took control of the 23 Local Council Secretariats on Tuesday night to prevent a breakdown of law and order. The move followed a dangerous power struggle between incumbent Governor Siminalayi Fubara and loyalists of his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.

Tragically, the violence has already claimed two lives: Police Inspector David Mgbada and vigilante member Samuel Nwigwe, both killed during a clash in Eberi-Omuma in Omuma LGA over the tenure of elected officials of the 23 local governments.

Tensions soared after the governor announced the termination of the 23 council chairmen’s tenure, instructing administrative heads to take over until elections are conducted. This pronouncement sparked protests from youths enforcing the governor’s order, conflicting with a law passed by the state House of Assembly that extended the council chairmen’s tenure by six months.

A Court of Appeal order further complicated the situation by mandating that the status quo be maintained until the hearing of suits on the matter. The council chairmen and executives have vowed to stay on for another six months, citing the tenure extension law.

Anticipating potential anarchy and its devastating consequences, Commissioner of Police Olatunji Disu ordered reinforced security and deployed operatives to all 23 LGAs to maintain law and order. Despite some public criticism alleging police interference in politics, many Rivers residents believe the police acted just in time to prevent chaos.

“We are not going to be quiet and watch an ugly history repeat itself,” said Ogoni community leader Saviour Nebari, referencing the 2013 Rotimi Amaechi versus Nyesom Wike crisis. “Politicians should learn to resolve their issues without recourse to violence.”

Prince Wiro Junior, National Coordinator of the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, commended the police for their professionalism. “If not for the proactiveness of the CP, there would have been so much bloodshed in Rivers State yesterday,” he said.

Prince Udemkwe, another resident, pointed out that accusations against the police from both factions indicate their neutrality. “For us, the ordinary residents in Rivers State, we are glad that the police have stayed proactive,” he noted.

Police Public Relations Officer Grace Iringe-Koko defended the police’s actions, stating, “We are only doing our job as we are supposed to. We have a no-nonsense CP who has a track record of being professional. We will not take it lightly with anyone fomenting trouble in the state.”

Condemning Tuesday’s violence, Inspector General of Police Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun directed the Commissioner of Police to enhance security measures and investigate the killings. The IG deployed the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) to assist in apprehending the killers and emphasized that attacks on police officers and security operatives would not be tolerated.

“The Inspector General of Police calls on all residents and political stakeholders in the State to exercise restraint and seek peaceful means of resolving differences,” said Force Public Relations Officer ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi.

As Rivers State navigates this turbulent period, the proactive measures by the police and calls for peace from residents underscore the importance of maintaining law and order for the state’s stability and progress.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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