Two senior police officers, Mr Akuki Keneth, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) assigned to monitor the April 11 governorship poll in Rivers State, and DSP Yusuf Buba, of the Police Mobile Force, have offered contradicting reports before the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on the alleged electoral malpractice that took place during the election.
Keneth, who is also the area commander in nine local government councils of the state, while testifying before the tribunal, following his subpoena, argued that the election was peaceful without threat to life, as there was no disruption of voting in the area that he supervised, namely, Khana, Gokana, Okirika, Ogu/Bolo, Eleme, Bonny, Opobo /Nkoro, Andoni and Tai LGAs.
The Police Commissioner debunked an earlier testimony of DSP Yusuf Buba, of the Mobile Police Force, who had earlier testified for the All Progressive Congress (APC) before the tribunal, saying that Buba lied on oath.
Kenneth contended that Buba was only deployed to the INEC office in Bori to provide security and, under the police disciplinary procedure, the witness ought to be sanctioned for his claim that he left his duty post to monitor the election in other areas.
He denied the allegations that security men were seen thumb printing ballot papers and also provided security for hoodlums who allegedly stuffed ballot boxes, saying: “I did not see any mass thumb printing of ballot papers as alleged and I did not see anybody removing INEC materials in Khana local government area and INEC Headquarters.”
The police boss further stated in his witness statement on oath for PDP that the police under his supervision on the day of the election commenced the first phase of patrol around 7: 30 a. m and ended it at 11 a. m, while the second phase of the patrol commenced at 1:30 p.m.
Kenneth told the tribunal that during the period, he went round the nine LGAs under his supervision, was in constant touch with his men at Cinema and Bonny highland area.
“At all the places we visited, INEC documents arrived there early and there were no threat to security or any violence,” he said in his testimony.