Police explain why operatives fired teargas, water cannons at Rivers governor

Police explain why operatives fired teargas, water cannons at Rivers governor

The police in Rivers State, South-south Nigeria, have explained why their operatives, on Monday, fired teargas and water cannons at Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara in Port Harcourt during the chaos that followed an impeachment proceedings against the governor.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how police operatives fired teargas and water cannons in the direction of Mr Fubara who, accompanied by some security aides and youths, suspected to be his political supporters, was walking along a road – the governor was heading to the Rivers House of Assembly Complex which had a part of it damaged by an explosion the previous day.

Mr Fubara, apparently because of the attack on him, said security in Rivers State was compromised. “They were shooting at me directly. But it doesn’t matter, somebody will die one day,” he said.

The police had been under pressure to speak on the attack.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the police in Rivers said Governor Fubara was in the midst of “aggressive” people who were marching towards the Rivers House of Assembly Complex.

Police spokesperson in Rivers, Grace Iringe-Koko, signed the statement on behalf of the Commissioner of Police in the state, Polycarp Emeka.

The police said they deployed “non-lethal crowd control equipment including tear gas and water cannon to disperse the riotous and uncontrollable protesters”.

“The presence of the Governor at the scene was of great surprise and shock as there was no prior communication to the Police on the visit of the Governor to the scene of the crime which ordinarily is the usual protocol and complimentary that we accompany his guard for proper safety considering the intelligence of security threat at hand then,” the police said.

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“It’s pertinent to state that the Police did not deliberately attack the Governor, or even attempt to hurt anyone let alone the Chief Executive and security officer of the state which it’s our most essential role to protect as being peddled in the news.

“Due to the present situation, and the misrepresentation in some sections of the media, it is pertinent to make this clarification.”

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Emeka, according to the statement, has urged residents of the state to go about their lawful duties and support the police and other security agencies to ensure that peace is restored in Rivers State.

Fubara’s rift with Wike

It is believed that Mr Fubara’s predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who is now the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, instigated the impeachment plot because of a rift between him and the governor. Most of the state lawmakers are loyalists of Mr Wike.

Mr Wike, on Tuesday, spoke for the first time about the political crisis in the state, saying it was a Peoples Democratic Party affair, and that the party was looking into it.

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, intervened in the rift between Messrs Fubara and Wike.

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