– Wole Adejumo
Before the situation in Rivers State degenerated with “Honourable” members of the House of Assembly throwing caution to the winds and engaging in reckless acts of violence that defy competent description, the state’s Commissioner of Police, John Mbu has found his way into national reckoning over altercations with the Governor, Rotimi Amaechi. The two men have traded blames for months.
The Governor called for the redeployment of the CP, saying the security situation was getting out of hand and that “the Commissioner of Police reports to them directly in Abuja. He doesn’t’ report to the governor, he has nothing to do with the government. He takes security men away from commissioners and posts security men to the Chairman of Port Harcourt Club” The Governor had also said “somebody at the top changed our Commissioner of Police and brought a man that when we finish Security Council meeting, he goes to report who said what.”
The Commissioner of Police however responded by asking the Governor to stop playing politics with his name. At a press briefing, he said “sometimes silence is golden but sometimes it is misconstrued. I have respect for Governor Amaechi but his attacks on me are going beyond bounds. Our Governor is very tyrannical, he is a dictator. He wants everybody to say ‘yes sir’ to him and I will not say so. I am a professional. The Governor should please stop playing politics with my name. I will tell the whole world why the Governor is against me. I will also tell you the crime rate before I came to Rivers and what the situation is now”
Meanwhile, as observers continue to link the Rivers hullabaloo to the Nigerian Governors Forum election and the arithmetic that followed it as well as the 2015 elections, CP John Mbu has been found to have his own share of controversies.
Back in February when he was the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, about 250 of his men accompanied by two Armoured Personnel Carriers went to Isale Oyo and sealed off the palace of the Ashipa of Oyo. The personal vehicle of the head of the Ashipa family and Alago of Ago-Oja, Chief Ganiyu Busari Ajiboye was taken away by the policemen. Incidentally, the police under Mbu acted without any court order backing the exercise they undertook.
The Inspector General was obviously displeased with the conduct of the men and Mbu was redeployed after that.
One would have expected Mbu to shun all forms of controversies on arrival at his next station.
While the Inspector General has said any policeman found culpable of any misdeed in the Rivers House of Assembly issue would be brought to book, it is pertinent to ask, will they ever be punished? What if the officers were simply obeying orders “from above? ” But who could be giving such orders?
Perhaps senior officers need to be reminded of the likes of AIG Raphael Ige. As the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 9, Ige had led about 200 men to abduct Dr Chris Ngige, the then Governor of Anambra State. Ngige’s personal security aides were disarmed while the Governor was taken to a hotel where he was kept in “protective custody”. Surprisingly, Ige did not inform the then Anambra State Commissioner of Police about his presence or mission in the state, neither was the Inspector-General of Police aware.
He was eventually fired on July 14, a month before he was due to retire having attained the maximum 35 years of service in the police Force.
Or maybe the CP needs to be reminded of the lot that befell CP Hassan Zakari Biu, one of the few officers that ever got a second chance in the Nigerian Police Force. Biu had been dismissed in the Obasanjo days but was strangely recalled and all his excesses of the past forgiven.
Things however went wrong after Madalla bombing suspect, Kabiru Sokoto was whisked away from the hands of policemen, right under Biu’s nose by Boko Haram members.
Interestingly, Biu tooo was billed to retire some months before he was finally given the boot.
The moral of the story lies in a Yoruba proverb that says “when a drum begins to sound too loud, it is only preparing to tear”.