Friday, 24 January 2014

RIGHT OF REPLY ...WHY GOVERNOR AMAECHI IS FIGHTING ME - BY CP MBU Rivers State Police Commissioner

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Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, in this interview speaks on the genesis of his problem with Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Excerpts: • The governor doesn’t like me because I refuse to fight his perceived political enemies. • Police did not shoot Senator Abbe WHAT led to your face-off with the Governor?--------------- All the propaganda by the governor is aimed at pushing me away from Rivers State by force so that a puppet that the governor can kick and shout at could be posted. Before I tell you the story, it is good for you to know my kind of person and my philosophy of life. My name is Mbu Joseph Mbu. I am a graduate of Political Science from University of Lagos. I joined the Police in order to serve this nation. I was given employment with the Nigeria Customs Service, but I preferred to join the Police. I have held various appointments in the Police. I was the Director of Police Education and under my watch, we witnessed great transformation in our schools. I have been a controversial person right from time because I am very strict. If you want to know how strict I am, you can see it from the naming of my children. The name of my first son is Kwame Nkrumah and my second son is Patrick Lumumba. My third son is Fanon, I have a daughter named Indira, and I named her after Indira Gandhi. I want you to know who I am. I am not easily pushed over. Our Education was almost dead. I was posted there to change it. For three years, we brought it back. I fought contractors who took money and failed to renovate our schools. I was the Task Force team chairman, who monitored all police projects as a Deputy Commissioner of Police. If I was not trusted, that appointment would not have been given to me. No contractor can say: “I gave Mbu N10, 000.” I went to the United States of America for a conference and I got to know about Books For Africa programme, I brought books worth N350 million and Laptops free of charge and distributed it among our schools. The present Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, was looking for someone who could transform the Nigeria Police Mobile Force; I did my best there. I brought back order and discipline. Officers and Squadron Commanders who did not go on course for three years, I compelled them to go on course. I was given a commendation by my IGP. I don’t lobby for anything in the Police. But some how, the IGP transferred me to Oyo State. To be sincere, it was not easy between the governor and me for the first three weeks. But he later came to understand me. The headquarters of Oyo State Police Command was not in order. You would not even know you were passing through a Police Command. I said: ‘why won’t armed robbers be invading Ibadan everyday. I renovated the whole place and I got a Commendation Letter from the IGP. The Commissioner of Police’s house was like a forest. I pulled everything down and with the support of the great gentleman, the Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Abiola Ajimobi, and the CP’s house has become a modern edifice. The present Chief Medical Director of UCH, Professor Alonge, did the landscaping of that house. My relationship with Oyo State Governor----------------------- I enjoyed my relationship with Governor Ajimobi. He is All Progressives Congress (APC) member, but we worked closely to fight crime in Oyo State. At 2.00am, Ajimobi would call and seek my advice and I would tell him what to do. Up till now, my relationship with members of Oyo State House of Assembly is strong. If I am travelling to Ibadan, I buy fish for the Speaker. Even as I am here, the Speaker still sends me text messages. They are in the opposition party. Ajimobi came out to say that I was the finest officer he had seen in the Police. If Governor Ajimobi travels, he would call me and ask for my shoe size. We were very close but he knew my stands on issues and he did not witch-hunt his opponents. He is not a tyrant. He is highly respected. He does not force people to respect him, he exudes respect. He talks to you himself. He calls me personally. I am the one who conducted the election that brought Governor Adams Oshiomhole back to power in Edo State. My IGP sent me there to do the right thing. The IGP gave me enough money and I paid everybody and I refused to collect any kobo from any politician. My transfer to Rivers State----------------------- I went for a burial in my town. When I returned, I was told I had been transferred by the IGP to Rivers State. I was not happy because I loved Oyo State. My IGP called and said I should resume immediately in Rivers and I said: ‘Thank you for the opportunity to serve’. As an officer, you don’t query your boss over any transfer. It is against our rule of engagement. I resumed in Rivers State and thinking I was coming to work with my brother, I felt elated. On my arrival to Rivers State, I saw a dirty-looking and shabbily dressed police officer and I asked: ‘who is that’. I asked them to call him and I said ‘you don’t look like a policeman. Your shoe is different, your uniform is different and you are so dirty. I ordered for his detention immediately so that he could face strict police disciplinary action. Two hours later, I received a phone call that he was the Orderly of the Secretary to the State Government. I ordered his release and warned him to change. My observation on resumption---------------------- I discovered that policemen were not controlling traffic. It was the Man O War and the Rivers State Traffic Management Authority who were doing that. I called a conference and warned officers and men to sit up or shown the way out. I said: ‘ If you are in the Nigeria Police, you must work’. Everybody is now doing his job very well. When I came here, a very important personality in Oyo told me that the governor was his friend. He called him on my behalf to say I was a good officer. I asked later: ‘ Have you called him and he said Yes! But he was cold. It was four months ago he told me that Ameachi told him I was posted to come and fight him. I visited the governor, although he did not receive me very well, but I did not bother. All the Armoured Personnel Carriers were not functioning. Many patrol vehicles were abandoned. I started refurbishing them. How my problem with the governor began A lot of things were wrong in the command when I resumed. If the governor wanted to hold a meeting with his commanders, he would ask his Aide De Camp (ADC) an Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police to call me a few hours to the meeting. I would ask: ‘Is that how you hold meetings here? The state where I came from, the personnel in the Chief of Staff’s Office would write the service commanders and attach the agenda for the meeting as well as the minute of the last Security meeting. But I have not seen it happened in Rivers State. One day, I told his Excellency: ‘ I am not saying we should not have emergency meetings, but we should be having formal security meetings. A meeting you would be attending with the governor, the deputy governor is not there, the Chief of Staff is not there, Special Assistant Security is not there. We just come for meeting and no one is taking minutes. We talk and talk without minutes. It is not proper. He talks to me through his ADC. He does not call me. An ASP would call me and say ‘ something happened in a particular place, why should you allow it to happen? I would tell him to ask His Excellency whether Police are ubiquitous or ghosts? Governor Ajimobi would never allow me to face such insult from a very junior officer. The next time that ADC called me, I warned him and threatened to visit him with police disciplinary action when next he would call to give me instructions. He stopped calling me and the governor started calling me personally. When I came to Port Harcourt, every commissioner under Governor Amaechi had five mobile policemen and Counter- Terrorism Unit men attached to him, I withdrew all of them and gave them one conventional policeman each. The Speaker of the House had 25 policemen and I said: “We must prune them to nine. Local Council chairmen were having seven policemen each and I saw it as an abuse. How do we protect the public if all my men are attached to politicians? Because of this action, we did not witness any bank robbery since I came till December. The governor became very angry with me, saying I was sabotaging him and I was sent to fight him. He started insulting me in the public. He told me: ‘look CP, if IGP gives instructions in Abuja, I and the Commissioner of Police would sit down and adjust it. I told him I could not do it because “I am enjoying the favours of my IGP, who is my immediate boss. I don’t want to create an issue of breach of trust because he is my boss. He treats me like a servant.” There was a day we were to have the security meeting. He called me and asked me to come back again for five times, as if I was his house-boy. He once told me I was sent to Rivers State to kill him. There was nothing he did not tell me and I would always keep my cool. As all these things were going on, I never knew there was a court case between G. U. Akeh and Felix Obuah. I never knew any of them. I was coming back from a tour when the Director of Sates Security Service called to tell me that they had removed Akeh as PDP chairman and one Obuah had been asked to take over. That was the genesis of the crisis till today. The governor created his own ‘state police’------------------ In Rivers, we have what they call TIMARIF. It is like the LASTMA of Lagos but it operates like a state police. They harass people and extort them all over the state. We almost had problem with the military because of them. I never knew that it was our Mobile Policemen attached to them that were giving them the power. I withdrew all of them from TIMARIF and that weakened them and people were happy. The governor became more angry with me. I told him, Sir: ‘ It is not good to use us to fight your political enemies. We have a duty to protect all Nigerians, irrespective of party affiliations’. Whenever he goes out for inspection of projects, he would mandate me to go with him, I became his orderly. He would take me to inspect bridges and I kept my cool. I have never met the supervising Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike. I never knew him. I only see him on television, and it was during his visit I came to know him. It is my duty to protect a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the governor got angry and said why should I protect him. There was never a day that Governor Ajimobi asked me why was I protecting PDP government servants. It was because of their party problem that the governor roped me into the matter and I know nothing about that. The same governor started accusing me that I leaked secrets to Abuja. I told him that we write our reports to the IGP after every security meeting. He wanted to create problem between me and my colleagues in the other services, he said that the Army Brigade Commander would now become the Head of the State security meeting in his absence, I said: ‘No’, that cannot happen in a democracy. I brought out a circular showing him that the Commissioner of Police “is the head of the other security agencies.” I rejected that proposal. This time around, their party problem had been polarized. Some people were for Ake and some were for the other person. In the presence of my lieutenants, he told me: “My CP, if we were in good terms, I would be giving you contracts’. I told him: ‘Your Excellency, I am not interested in all these things. I don’t even have a house apart from my father’s two-storey building’. I told him my passion was how to do the right thing always. I told him he was supposed to commend me for doing the right thing always instead of fighting me. There is discipline all over the place in Rivers State. The people of Rivers State have been supporting me. They donate a many things to us. Today, all the important people in Rivers State who were scared of coming home because of the governor’s thugs, now come home. All dignitaries of the state now come home to celebrate their birthdays. Before now, if you were an opposition to the governor, you dared not organize a party because thugs would come and deal with you. There was so much abuse of peoples’ rights in Rivers State before I came. Security agencies and human rights groups had come to investigate me and they did not find me guilty. The governor sponsored women to come and protest that ‘Mbu Must go’, the next day, to my surprise, about 5,000 women came out to say ‘Mbu must stay’. I got information that ex-militants were going to protest, I learnt that they had matched to Isaac Boro Stadium, I sent my men to throw tear-gas canisters at them and they ran away. Somehow, they found their way around Government House, I sent my Counter Terrorism officers to cordon off the Government House and they dislodged them. I sent a text to the governor and told him my actions and he replied and said: ‘Thank you very much’. The IGP urged me to go back to the Public Order Act and make a pronouncement banning protest. I sent a text to the governor informing him about that and he did not reply my message. The governor called and said he was going to lead a protest against the Police. He said the police were taking sides. I don’t know those politicians he was saying I am supporting. It is a fact that the governor of Rivers State is a defector Chief Security Officer of the state but who is supposed to advise the governor? It is I and yet you are not in good terms with me. You insult wherever you see me, he disgraces me publicly. He says crime rate has increased since I came, but it is not true because statistics shows that crime rate has reduced. This is the only state that the governors’ convoy is like a gang star convoy, this is the only state that all plate numbers of the governor and other commissioners are concealed; I insisted that they must not be concealed. I pleaded with governor, I said ‘ ‘You are the elected governor of Rivers State, your supposed to be respected, but you drive like a cowboy, if you conceal all your numbers, the people will not respect you. You should hang your party flag and the national flag with the coat of arm, your symbol of authority opened for people to know who is passing by’. All the policemen attached to him behave like gods. They don’t take instructions from us. One day, the governor called and said: ‘ CP, do you know you were the first person to give query to my ADC? I said ‘Yes, he is a police officer under me and if he misbehaves, I will give him query’. He told me, ‘Do you know you were indirectly giving me query? I said: ‘Your Excellency, I could not give you query. The boy in question is part of the police. If he misbehaves, we would have to discipline him, according to the rules guiding the job’. I don’t go to Deputy Police Commissioner (DC) to say “I want money from the governor, I do my job, I don’t beg for money. Senator Abbe encounter--------------------------------- We were informed that there would be rally, but no letter was written to us for permission. So I asked my men to take over the venue of the rally before that day. Senator Abbe met my CSP Operations at the venue and they were talking. Thugs were coming from the other side and my men had to release tear gas.The senator crossed the road and entered the church. Nobody shot Senator Abbe. He should show Nigerians the bullet wounds. The tear gas did not even touch him because he went into the church.

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