Call to Reward Diligent Police Officers.

Source: Rivers State Ethnic Nationalities Youth Association.

The Rivers State Ethnic Nationalities Youth Association (RISENYA) unequivocally condemns the unethical actions of the security agencies especially the Police in the recently conducted legislative rerun elections in Rivers State. Whilst we acknowledge that there are undeniably professional security officers within the corps, what happened in Rivers State sends a dreadful signal about the future of our democracy.

In the Rivers re-run, we saw frightening footages of not only the Police but also Soldiers actually perpetrating the violence and attempts at altering election results against its prescribed roles of only securing the distribution and delivery of election materials and protection of election officials as stipulated in the Electoral Act 2015 as amended.

Against this background, we are worried that Police high ranking officers were caught physically attacking INEC staff in order to enfeeble them and thereby altering election results to favour the ruling party. At Bodo, in the same rerun election, another police officer was alleged to have shot and killed one Meebari Kormaga and the Police authority has taken no action against him. Again, at Omoku, a senior police officer and his driver were abducted and killed yet no action had been taken even after confessional statements have been obtained from the suspects.

Notwithstanding the unethical actions of their colleagues, six police officers who accompanied Governor Nyesom Wike to the result collation centre commendably demonstrated bravery and professionalism by preventing violence and the alteration of election results. Frustratingly, however, these security officers who were very professional in the discharge of their duty were the ones who have been dismissed callously from service by the police even when the panel that was set up by the police authority to investigate their alleged offense had not sat.

Realising the critical role of unbiased policing in the achievement of credible elections and survival our democracy, there is no gainsaying that these six police officers have done well and deserve commendation. Therefore, we call on all relevant authorities particularly the Rivers State Government, men of good will and lovers of democracy in the state to adopt these six police Officers as heroes of our democracy and adequately reward them.

Comrade Paul Ikuru Dateme Paul
President Secretary