The Rivers State Police Command at the weekend vacated the secretariats of the 22 local government councils of the state following an order from the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase.
This is as the All Progressives Congress (APC) denied involvement in the occupation of the council secretariats, which came shortly after a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt nullified the election of chairmen and councillors of the 22 local government councils.
Governor Ezebuwo Nyesom Wike, who confirmed the withdrawal of the Police from council secretariats when he appeared in a phone-in radio programme monitored in Port Harcourt, said he personally called Arase to brief him the true situation on group.
The APC, in a statement issued on Sunday in Port Harcourt by its state chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, denied claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that it is behind the takeover of local government secretariats in the state by the Police.
Ikanya said, “The accusation is watery, baseless and without foundation. APC as a party has nothing to do with the Police taking over the LG Secretariats in Rivers State. We are not a lawless party like PDP that used the Police and other security organs to make the State virtually ungovernable during their time in power at the centre.”
He stated that the party has always been known as a party that respects and advocates strict adherence to the rule of law, saying there was no way it would suddenly turn around to do otherwise.
The APC chairman said, “The memory of how the lawless PDP-led Federal Government under the watch of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan used the police to harass, intimidate and hound then Governor Rotimi Amaechi and APC leaders in Rivers State remains ever fresh.
“PDP leaders in the State clapped and danced when their leader, Chief Nyesom Wike, murdered the rule of law through the infamous CP Joseph Mbu. He heartlessly dispersed 13,000 teachers who gathered to receive their employment letters, aided the five renegade lawmakers to attempt the impeachment of the then Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, barricaded and sealed the State Assembly for one legislative year and even blocked the access road to the Government House on one occasion, preventing Governor Amaechi and his visitors from using the road.
“It was the same Wike who as a junior Minister and with the backing of the then lawless First Lady Patience Jonathan ordered his thugs to stone State Governors who visited Rivers in solidarity with Amaechi for the humiliation he suffered under the watchful eyes of then-President Jonathan. Wike later used the police and the army to forcefully break into the newly constructed stadium just to prove his powers.
“Having unequivocally condemned such excesses, there is no way we as a party could possibly turn around to instigate the Police under the new, law-abiding administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to walk the path of infamy as was the case during the discredited Jonathan administration.
“In any case, even if we haboured any such thoughts, it wouldn’t have been possible to execute it under the present dispensation as the President Buhari administration is not running a lawless government as was the case during the time of Dr. Jonathan and could not have directed the police to embark upon any illegal act.”
Ikanya, who restated the party’s rejection of the order by Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court Port Harcourt, sacking the 22 local government chairmen elected during the Amaechi era, said the APC will follow constitutionally approved judicial processes to seek justice in the matter.
He commended the police for acting promptly to forestall the breakdown of law and order following the judgment of the Court, saying, “We will do everything lawful to ensure that our elected LG councils are not in any way humiliated out of office.”