Police Task Force: Rivers Caucus in N/Assembly tackles IGP, FG

Senator George Sekibo

George Thompson Sekibo

…Calls on IGP to reverse action

….it’s an invitation to anarchy, violates essence of federalism

Okafor Ofiebor/‘Port-Harcourt

The Rivers caucus in National Assembly  has described the establishment of a  Technical Task Force by saddled with the task of ensuring unhindered inter-state movement of agricultural products into the State  by the Police as invitation  to anarchy.

Speaking at a joint media briefing, leaders of the Caucus, Senator George Sekibo, representing Rivers East Senatorial District and Kingsley Chinda of the House of Representatives said the police action was unacceptable. “It is essentially, antithetical to and a reversal of the aims and purposes of the COVID-19 inter-state lockdown and measures to curb the pandemic. It is in this regard that we join the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers to request the Inspector General Police, Muhammed Adamu, to reconsider the action.

“The development is sour and highly confrontational, not only to the authorities of the Rivers State Government, but also to the people and residents.

“We run a Federal system of government and cannot afford to have two chief executives in Rivers State at the same time. That will be a clear invitation to anarchy.”

The lawmakers said their position was informed by the fact that the Rivers State Commissioner of Police (CP), John Mukan, acting under the IGP’s instructions, has set up a parallel  Task Force in the guise of a Joint Technical Committee to ensure interstate movement of Agricultural products and other essential items in the state; a committee charged with the determination of who comes into Rivers State during the lockdown period.

They said in the last 48 hours, the Police action has been trending, adding, “We had expected the IGP to deny the report, but since he has not, it is well to hold that the action was actually his effort and hence this media briefing.”

They called on President Buhari to reverse the trend, while also appealing to the President to call the IGP and the Rivers CP to order, by restraining them from establishing a parallel government in Rivers State.

The Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers led by King Jaja of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja,Jeki V was the first to raise the alarm about the Technical Committee.

However, the Rivers State Police Command has allayed fears that the establishment of the committee is in conflict with orders of the state government on the movement of foods, agricultural produces and medical supplies.

Responding to the alarm and concerns raised by the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers that the setting up a Technical Taskforce for the interstate movement of agricultural products and other essential services in the state by on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Muhammed Adamu, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Joseph Mukan, explained that the Police respect all directives of both the Executive Order issued by Governor Nyesom Wike and the Presidential directives.

He made this clarification on behalf of the IGP at a meeting between the Police authorities and members of the Civil Societies Organization/Media Situation Room in the state.

He said that both the Federal and State governments meant well for the people and are working together to fashion out ways to ensure that the Coronavirus pandemic modalities and foods would not become a problem for the people.

He said “Federal government can give some waivers, especially to some Oil operations, it is left for us to harmonize it with extant laws of the state it is just a matter of understanding.

“We are not in any conflict with the Rivers State Government because we are all working for the good of the state, I know that His Excellency the Governor means well for the people so our duty is to support him to achieve it”.

Mukan, however warned those bringing foods not come in with any human cargoes and threatens to deal with any one who breaches such protocols.