Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, has said he cannot shoot the state Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, should the governor lead a protest in the state.
Mbu was reacting to statements by the governor that he would lead a planned protest against the activities of the presidency and the state commissioner of police in the state.
Amaechi had dared the commissioner to shoot him if he (Mbu) wanted, as there was nowhere in the 1999 Constitution where people required to have the written permission of the police before going on a protest.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, Mbu described Amaechi as his friend, brother and boss, adding that he had never called the governor a truant as reported in some national dailies.
“I have never called the governor a truant as reported by a certain newspaper. How can I call the governor that? That is insulting. Governor Amaechi is my friend; he is my brother and my boss. Yesterday, we spoke on phone for close to 30 minutes. I cannot shoot him. It is the press that is creating the problem between us to sell their papers. It is the press that is saying the governor will shoot me or I shoot him,” Mbu said.
The Police commissioner reaffirmed that the ban on public protest without a written permission from the police was still in force and insisted that the governor would need to obtain a permit before leading a protest in the state.
“Nobody is above the law in Nigeria and I know that Amaechi is not thinking towards that direction (leading a protest). He is the chief security officer of the state and I am his second-in-command. Anyway, until then, we will see,” Mbu said.
Mbu disagreed with the impression that there had been an increase in crime since he assumed office, stressing that while the state might have its peculiar security challenges, “our men are doing their best in combating crime in Rivers State.”
Presenting the score card of his achievement since he assumed duties in the state few months ago, Mbu said there had been a drastic reduction in crime rate.
He said the command had arrested a total of 52 suspected kidnappers in various parts of the state while nine others escaped arrest between February 5, and June 26, adding that about six kidnap victims were rescued from the hide-outs of suspected kidnappers.
He also said the state had recorded a total of 18 kidnap cases while the sum of N6.8 million ransom paid to suspected kidnappers by relatives of victims was recovered.
The command, he said, also recovered a total of 20 AK-47 rifles, 11 AK-49 rifles and two general purpose machine guns (GPMG) with chain bullets, as well as five pump-action guns and eight Dane guns from various criminal gangs in the state.
Also recovered, according to him, were four berretta pistols, 82 magazines, 1,450 AK-47 ammunition, 2,240 other ammunition, dynamites, gas cylinder and wielding pipes.
On his relationship with the former militant war-lord and the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), Ateke Tom, Mbu said Ateke was not a criminal but an ex-militant leader, who had been granted pardon by the federal government.
“Ateke is not a criminal. If he wants to meet with me maybe to give information on anything, I will be willing to meet with him. But any day they declare him an active militant, I will fight him,” Mbu said.