The war of words over the crisis in Rivers State raged on Thursday, as the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, described the Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, as a dictator who wished everybody to bow to his whims and caprices.
Mbu, who has had a frosty relationship with the governor since his posting to the state last April, said his problem with Amaechi stemmed from his (Mbu’s) refusal to bend the rules.
The commissioner spoke at a press briefing in Port Harcourt, in reaction to Amaechi’s claim that he had stopped holding security meetings because Mbu leaked proceedings of meetings to outsiders.
“Our governor is very tyrannical, he is a dictator. He wants everybody to say yes sir to him and I said I will not say so. I am a professional,” Mbu said.
He added that contrary to the claims of the governor, there had not been any security meeting in the state since he assumed office and challenged the governor to show proof of such meetings.
“We have never held a formal security meeting in this state since I came. There has never been any formal letter written to convene security meeting in this state since I came. Letters for such meetings go to the security commanders indicating that there will be a security meeting with the governor or his deputy. Attached to the letter are the agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting. I ask the governor to produce such.
“What the governor does is to ask his security officer to call the Commissioner of Police for a meeting. These people are below the rank of a DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police). I stopped them recently from calling my line because there are channels of communication. There is an Inspector General of Police’s directive that after every Security Council meeting details must be sent by hand to the IG,” he said.
He explained that he had also had issues with Amaechi over who presides over security meetings.
“One issue I have had with the governor is who chairs internal security meetings in the state. He (governor) said we should rotate it; but I said no, there is a letter from the NSA on this. It is the Commissioner of Police that does. I told him if my predecessors did not do what was right, I won’t follow them. The Commissioner of Police is to chair the forum and assume responsibility to brief the governor. I told him the IG has so many sources of information. I told the governor that my loyalty to him is total,” he said.
Mbu also disagreed with Amaechi’s claim that there had been an increase in crime since he assumed office in the state, urging him not to involve him in the politics of the state.
“I will speak statistically on the crime wave and how it has reduced. I am a core professional police officer. I will beg the governor not to drag my name into politics. Nobody can influence me. It is only my conscience that can. I believe in God and I trust in God,” he said.
On his efforts to reduce crime in the state, Mbu said: “I have refurbished 12 Hilux on my own. The crime rate has dropped in the state. There have been tremendous changes. I spent six months in Oyo State. And the State House of Assembly held a special session to honour me. I have respect for the office of the governor and the governor of the state. But let him also have respect for the police and me.
“The equipment the state government bought for tracking of kidnappers they gave to the State Security Service (SSS). I have tried to ask for the one meant for the police.
“I called this press briefing to speak on the very unpleasant reactions that are coming from the governor of Rivers State. The office of the governor is a revered office, it has respect. It is not an office that should be commonised (sic). Sometimes, silence is golden but sometimes it is misconstrued. I have respect for Governor Amaechi but his attacks on me are going beyond bounds. I am not here for any agenda. I don’t know why His Excellency has chosen the warpath with me.”
On the face-off between the police and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Tony Okocha, Mbu said: “The Chief of Staff to the governor has gone to court asking the court to restrain the police from arresting him. I am not ready for him yet because no court can grant such order.
“He threatened the live of the president of the place (Port Harcourt Club). That is why police are protecting the place (the club). A new circular is coming on who and who are entitled to police protection. There has been an attempt on the life of the president of Port Harcourt club twice.”