Rivers Crisis: Gov Amaechi appears before Human Rights Commission
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, yesterday, appeared before the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to substantiate his allegation against the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Joseph Mbu contained in his petition dated October 1, 2013.
The meeting which took place at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja, was chaired by its Executive Secretary, Professor Bem Angwe.
Addressing journalists before the closed door session, Amaechi maintained that the way the commission handles his petition would determine if Nigerians would continue to have faith in it or not.
He said, 'I hope we would get justice from this commission. Some said the outcome had been predetermined because of publications like this (waving a Newspaper publication, not Vanguard).
'This publication said I have been indicted even when I have not even appeared before the commission and the commission is yet to start interrogating us.
'The process of investigation should be transparent and if at the end of the day there is no justice, people might lose hope in the commission. I am happy for the invitation to be here and I am ready to appear as many times as they want and also tender many evidences to support our claim.'
The governor said activities in the state had shown that the state was already becoming a police state and appealed to Nigerians to note what was happening there.
In his remarks, Angwe said it was not true that the commission had indicted the governor and urged him to ignore any rumour or publication contrary to his assertion.
'We have not indicted the governor or any other person for that matter concerning the petition before us. Anyone saying anything contrary to this should be ignored,' Angwe told journalists.
Angwe said he was happy that the governor decided to write the petition instead of using uncivilized means to settle the matter.
He said the petition, in the history of Nigeria, was the first to have been filed by a state government, against the state and urged other organizations and Nigerians to emulate 'this civilized means of settling dispute.'
On how the commission would handle the petition, he said oral evidence would be taken from all the parties before officials of the commission would visit the state, adding that at the end of this, a preliminary report would be written.
He said it was after this that the commission would decide whether there was the need to hold public hearing on the matter or not.
Specifically, in his petition, a copy of which was obtained by Vanguard in Abuja yesterday, Governor Amaechi, accused the State's Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mbu, of exercising his duties without recourse to necessary constitutional and legal standards.
According to Amaechi, 'The Rivers State Police Command is presently led by Mbu whose pattern of actions and public utterances are manifestly contrary to basic standards of behavior for a person occupying his very sensitive office; the constitutional framework for controlling the security structures of a state, the unique security challenges, formations networks and infrastructure of Rivers State, and the mission statement of the Nigerian Police 'the creation of a safer and more secure environment conducive to meaningful socio-economic development through crime prevention and control.
'Mr. Mbu's mode of exercising his duties without recourse to necessary constitutional and legal standards is creating an environment rife with fear, distrust of security operatives and public institutions, strife, impunity, criminal behaviors and brigandage, factors which were all implicit in the build up and escalation of the pre-amnesty Niger Delta crisis' he added.
Amaechi told the NHRC that 'currently the state Commissioner of Police barely acknowledges official communications from the Governor- not to mention other principal agents of RiversState. The avenues for giving him lawful directives in my constitutional role as the Chief Security Officer of the State has been unilaterally and unlawfully precluded by Mr. Mbu.
'Mr. Mbu has joined an unprecedented disposition to publicly ridicule the person and office of the principal members of a State Government, including the Governor by a State Police Commissioner with unilateral and unreasonable actions made to undermine inter-agency security collaborations, democratic activities of elected and appointed public officers and the operations of whole units of government.'
He urged the Commission to 'leverage its independence and capabilities to urgently investigate and ascertain if the current Rivers State Commissioner is still fit and proper to superintend the police formation of a sensitive state in Nigeria with a complex human rights dynamics leading down to a general electioneering period due to his penchant for compromising democratic practices, structures, institutions and authorities necessary to secure law and order, good government and basic human right guarantees.'