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Residents Hails Rivers State Police Boss, Tunji Disu Over Security Measures Amidst Crisis

Amid the escalating political crisis in Rivers State, the Police Command has been praised by residents for demonstrating commendable professionalism, impartiality, and proactive measures.

The commendations followed the Police takeover of the 23 Local Council Secretariat on Tuesday night.

This was to prevent a breakdown of law and order after a power struggle between the incumbent Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who is now the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, reached dangerous levels.

Two people, Police Inspector David Mgbada and a vigilante member, Samuel Nwigwe, were confirmed dead in Eberi-Omuma, Omuma LGA.

This followed a face-off between warring political groups over the tenure of the elected officials of the 23 local governments.

There was tension in the state on Tuesday when the governor terminated the tenure of 23 council chairmen and ordered Administrative Heads to take over until the election.

This contradicted a law passed by the state House of Assembly that extended the tenures of the chairmen by six months.

A Court of Appeal order further complicated the issue by directing that status quo be maintained until the hearing of suits on the matter. 

To prevent potential anarchy and violence, the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, CP Tunji Disu ordered reinforced security and deployed operatives in all 23 LGAs.

This move received mixed reactions, with some accusing the police of meddling in politics while others commended their swift intervention to maintain peace.

Concerned residents urged the warring factions to resolve their differences without resorting to violence and to refrain from involving security operatives.

They highlighted the negative impact of past political crises and emphasised the importance of maintaining peace for the well-being of everyone in the state.

Commend the Police under CP Olatunji Disu

The National Coordinator of the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, Prince Wiro Junior commended the police for their professionalism and proactive measures to prevent bloodshed.

He urged the political actors to abide by the law and refrain from using violence to disrupt the peace and stability of the state.

According to him, “I must commend the Police under CP Olatunji Disu for being very professional in handling the crisis in Rivers State.

“I am from Emehua Local Government and resident in Rivers State. Do not forget that the primary responsibility of the Police is to protect life and property. They also have a duty to detect crime before it happens.

“If not for the proactiveness of the CP, there would have been so much bloodshed in Rivers State yesterday. We also understand that some of the political gladiators have recruited cultists and all sorts of violent elements to unleash mayhem on their rivals but the CP and his men were able to rise to the occasion to prevent breakdown of law and order.

“The Police have been very apolitical and neutral in this issue. There is calm across Rivers State today because the police took over the 23 LGAs to ensure peace and stability.

“Some people are asking why the Police would take over the LGAs but I support them because if they were not proactive and violence broke out with deaths recorded in high numbers, people would still condemn the police for not acting. So, I commend them. They have done very well and I urge them to keep doing so.

“I want to use this opportunity to plead with the political gladiators to conduct their activities within the confines of the law. They should stop recruiting cultists and violent elements to disrupt the peace and stability of the state. 

“If you are in Rivers State between Tuesday and Wednesday, you don’t need anyone to tell you all manner of characters that have come out from various nooks and crannies who are being sponsored by the politicians. The politicians should allow peace to reign in the state for the good of all.”

Maintain neutrality, Prince Udemkwe tells Rivers State Police

Another resident, Prince Udemkwe welcomed the Police’s proactive stance and emphasised the importance of the Police remaining neutral to prevent the influence of any political faction.

“It is very clear that each side wants the Police to support them but they are not having their way. That is why both sides have been accusing the Police of taking sides. For us, the ordinary residents in Rivers State, we are glad that the police have stayed proactive.

“If the police were not proactive in preventing some of the actions of these politicians, I won’t be able to go about my legitimate business and that will further make life difficult in this already hard economy.

“So, I am begging the Police to continue to be neutral and not to allow any of the sides to influence them. If they succeed in having their way, violence will erupt in this state and it will affect those of us who make daily income,” he said.

Keep us out of your issue – Police spokesperson

The Police Public Relations Officer, Grace Iringe-Koko, dismissed allegations of bias against the police asserting that the Police acted in the public interest and in good faith.

She stated, “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. As I speak with you, the CP is on patrol himself. He is monitoring situations across the state and he keeps reminding all of us that we are Police operatives, not politicians.

“I think it is rather unfair on us that some people are accusing us of taking sides. If we do nothing and their is violence, we will be accused of not doing our job. Now, we are taking steps to prevent bloodbath and some people are still accusing us of taking sides. We will not be discouraged.

“I want to appeal to the politicians to keep the Police out of their issue. The Police are out to ensure the safety and security of all residents of the state and their property. We will not take it lightly with anyone for meting trouble in the state and will ensure the full weight of the law is deployed on them,” she warned.

Condemning Tuesday’s violence in the strongest terms,  the Inspector General of Police, IGP Olukayode Adeolu Egbetokun, directed the Commissioner of Police to heighten security measures across the state and institute thorough investigations into the killing of the Police officer and the vigilante operative.

In a statement yesterday by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the IG directed investigation into the general violence which erupted in the state. 

“The IGP has specifically deployed operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) to assist the Rivers State Command in apprehending the killers of the police officer and the vigilante member. 

“The IGP seriously warns individuals and groups of people who have a penchant for senseless attacks and mindless killings of Police officers and other security operatives across the country to desist forthwith as the fullest force of the law will be meted on them.

“The CP has also been directed to focus on increased patrols, strategic deployment of officers, and enhanced intelligence operations to prevent further violence and ensure the safety of all residents. 

“The IGP extends heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the deceased Police officer and the vigilante member noting that their dedication and sacrifice in the line of duty will not be taken for granted. 

“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,” he said.

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