Group Seeks Decisive Action Against Perpetrators Of Violence In Rivers Assembly

Rotimi-Amaechi 600The Stop Impunity Nigeria (S.I.N.) campaign, a multi-stakeholder project to check impunity in all sectors of the Nigerian society, today called on security and law enforcement agencies to take decisive action against the perpetrators of Tuesday’s violence in the Rivers State House of Assembly and end the circle of impunity in the political arena.

In a statement in Lagos, the Campaign noted that there was no dispute about the sequence of events that led to the crisis in the House, adding that: “When five members of a legislative body procure the services of thugs and militants to orchestrate a series of violent actions in order to gain a political advantage over the other 27 members, they should be told unequivocally that such criminal behaviour is neither tolerable nor acceptable under our laws and democratic system, regardless of political affiliation.”

The Campaign Coordinator, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, of Human Development Initiatives (HDI), said: “These people cannot go unpunished. These five legislators, along with the thugs and militants who aided them, must be arrested and punished to the full extent of the Law for their criminal and barbaric actions.  To do otherwise would be to send a wrong signal to other misfits in the political arena that if they have the right connections, they can use violence to subvert the democratic process and get away with it.  Nigeria must turn away from this culture of impunity which is threatening to consume the country and its democracy.”

The campaign noted that it is also unconscionable that the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, who was officially informed and notified in advance by the leadership of the House of the possibility of threat to peace and security in the House, by his own admission, initially chose to ignore the call for him to provide adequate security.  He only decided to act when the Brigade Commander of the 2 Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt pleaded with him to do so and, apparently, he did so half-heartedly with the result that thugs and militants were able to gain access into the Chambers of the House fully armed with various weapons, including guns, despite the fact that Commissioner Mbu’s men were supposedly searching everyone going into the premises.  In the end, his men were neither able to prevent nor contain the breakdown of law and order.

The campaign said such an error of judgment on the part of a senior official of the stature of Commissioner of Police is reprehensible and amounts to criminal negligence as more timely and decisive action on his part could have prevented loss of public and private property occasioned by the mayhem as well as the injuries caused to many innocent persons, including some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The campaign insisted that Mr. Mbu had shown himself unfit to hold such high office where the security of lives and property in the entire state largely depend on him. It therefore called for his immediate removal.

It also called on the Police Service Commission to investigate further the actions of the Police Commissioner and take disciplinary measures against him for his inexcusable failure to perform his duties.

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