Posted by News Express | 22 January 2014 | 5,507 times
The popular Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway was shut down for several hours yesterday by anti-Rotimi Amaechi protesters from the four Ikwerre local governments, comprising Ikwerre, Emohua, Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt, who demonstrated in solidarity with the much-criticised state Police Commissioner, Mbu, Joseph Mbu.
They were protesting against the call by Rivers State Government and its sympathisers that Mbu should be redeployed to another state.
Unlike pro-Amaechi rallies on two previous Sundays in Port Harcourt where policemen and hoodlums allegedly brutalised participants, Tuesday’s demonstrators were protected by the policemen who were present.
The demonstrators, indigenes of Ikwerre ethnic nationality operating under the auspices of Ikwerre Peoples’ Assembly, threatened to shut down all entry points into Rivers State, including the international airport located within the Ikwerre community, all the oil wells, flow stations and oil facilities in any of the four local governments of the Ikwerre ethnic stocks.
The protesters had converged on the GRA Junction, along Aba Road, close to the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) at about 8.30 a.m. and occupied an appreciable portion of the road up to 9.30 a.m., singing and dancing with placards carrying diverse messages.
Some of the placards read: ‘Thank you I-G for leaving Mbu for us’; ‘We have a brother in Jonathan’, ‘A South- South Man Cannot Betray His Brother’; ‘Tinubu Enough is Enough’; ‘We Will Not Support Impunity’; and ‘Leave CP Mbu Alone’.
Spokesman of the group, Chima Boms, said: “CP Mbu in our estimation has performed creditably well and deserves commendation. We therefore request that he continues to serve in Rivers State for the good of the people.
“Consequently, the Ikwerre Peoples’ Assembly will resist any attempt to redeploy CP Mbu as commissioner of police Rivers State as such move will take us back to the dark era.”
Boms added: “The resumption of Mbu as commissioner of police in Rivers State has effectively put to an end to the reign of impunity, lawlessness, harassment and the abuse of the fundamental rights of the citizens by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“Mbu since resumption of office has demonstrated an uncanny zeal, dexterity and enthusiasm in the art of policing the state, hence the peaceful and serene atmosphere pervasive today in the state, which ironically and indeed inexplicably does not go down well with the Governor of the state.
“Rivers people and indeed Nigerians will recall, prior to the resumption of Mbu as commissioner of police in Rivers State, the indiscriminate arrest and illegal detention, harassment and abuse of the fundamental rights of the citizens by Governor Amaechi.”
The group claimed that in the face of extreme provocation, Mbu has demonstrated a high sense of professionalism in ensuring safety of lives and properties in the state.
“Any redeployment of CP Mbu at this time will be asking for the total shut down of all entry points to Rivers State including the international airport which the Ikwerre people play host to, and all the oil wells, flow stations and oil facilities located in Ikwerre land.”
Reacting to the protest, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, warned of looming anarchy in Rivers State if the current political trend persists.
Yesterday’s peaceful protest was the latest in recent times since the call for the redeployment of Mbu as police commissioner became heightened by the state government and leadership of the state APC.
Only last week, the people of Okrika and Ogu/Bolo staged a peaceful demonstration at the national field, Okrika, in support of President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid and the leadership role of Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike.
•Text adapted from a Daily Independent report. Photo courtesy Nigerian Tribune.
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