Monday, 15 July 2013

RIVERS CRISIS: Presidency Wants Amaechi Probed

The Presidency has advised security agencies to ensure that Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi was investigated and prosecuted after his tenure in office for his alleged involvement in Tuesday’s mayhem in the state House of Assembly.
The advice was given just as the Action Congress of Nigeria urged the Police Service Commission to address  the causes of the fracas in the House  rather than the symptoms in  its  investigation  of  the role of the police in the  crisis.
The comments by the Presidency and the ACN  followed a July 9  petition  by Amaechi  to Jonathan on the free for all  that led to infliction of injuries on some lawmakers following an attempt to impeach the Speaker of the House, Mr. Daniel Amachree by a group led by Mr. Evans Bipi.
Amaechi had in the petition  which was also addressed to the PSC  Chairman,  Mike Okiro,  requested the immediate transfer of the Commissioner in charge of the state Police Command,  Joseph Mbu.
He also sent copies of the petition in which he detailed Mbu’s alleged atrocities to Senate President  David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.
But the Presidency through the  Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, wondered why the governor’s   priority  should be on the redeployment of the police  commissioner  at a time when efforts were ongoing to fly an injured  lawmaker, Michael Chinda, abroad for treatment.
Gulak, in an interview, however  gave an  assurance that the President would look at the merits and demerits of Amaechi’s  petition before taking a decision.
Insisting   that the governor should be held responsible for the fracas,   the Presidential aide reminded  Amaechi  that the immunity from prosecution which he currently enjoys as a governor would end on expiration of his tenure.
He therefore asked security agencies to investigate the  fracas thoroughly and keep the file.
Gulak said, “It is true that as a sitting governor, he enjoys immunity but immunity cannot be forever.
“Security agencies should investigate the matter (fracas) thoroughly and keep the file because I still find it amazing and tragic for the governor to go into the House of Assembly to play  active role in the fracas. It amazes me.
“But one thing is sure,  the President will read through his (Amaechi’s) petition. He will study it and look at its merits and demerits. It is after that that the President will direct relevant authorities appropriately on the matter.
“The governor had a game plan from the beginning. He wants the commissioner of police redeployed. He is not talking about a member of the House of Assembly who is the Majority Leader and his (Amaechi) security details beat to a coma.
“The lawmaker has been in a coma since that incident on Tuesday and will be flown abroad for treatment. The governor is not talking about that one, his major preoccupation is the redeployment of the police commissioner.”
But  the Rivers State Government and  the ACN, said Amaechi’s quick intervention  prevented the free-for-all in the House of Assembly from escalating.
The Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, Mr. Tony Okocha, argued that Gulak should have called for an inquiry into how thugs gained entrance into the House.
“It is most unreasonable to contemplate. Rather conversely, Amaechi ought to be commended for his brave intervention and rescue mission even at the risk of his life. Gulak should be suggesting an inquiry into how armed thugs got into the Assembly and at whose behest,” he said.
“He (Gulak) should be able to absolve the Presidency from complicity knowing the relationship between Bipi and the Presidency. Nigerians are better aware than he thinks,” Okocha added.
The Police  headquarters  has however summoned the orderly to Amaechi, who was captured in a video engaging in a brawl with a lawmaker during the fracas in the  House.
“It is true that the police orderly who played a prominent role in the fracas has been summoned by the IG. He was captured in the video engaging in a fight with a lawmaker contrary to Force discipline and code of conduct for officers,” a source  close to Louis Edet headquarters of the force  said on Sunday.
 Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, had  set up a  panel headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in-charge of Operations, Philemon Leha,  to probe the  impasse.
When contacted on Sunday, the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said  investigation into the crisis was  ongoing and that the force  would not hesitate to invite anyone involved in the incident.
“You are aware that the investigation panel set up by the IG has begun its work; so anyone found to have participated in the fracas can be invited . Everyone that   played a role in the incident will be summoned,” he said.