IBRAHIM K. Idris, inspector general of Police, IGP, has cautioned against reckless attack on the police as a result of the outcome of the rerun legislative election in Rivers State.
A statement from the police which was made available to Realnews December 16, stated that the IGP, as the number one law enforcement officer in the country and putting into cognizance his national and international exposure, has tremendous respect for the office of the governor of any state and by extension the occupants of this office.
The statement reads: “Arising from the aftermath of the conclusive re-run parliamentary election in Rivers State, novel in the political history of the state, the police have received unprecedented verbal attacks from highly placed political office holders in the media, conventional and social.
“It is, however, pertinent to set the records straight vis à vis recent unfair and undeserved attacks, condemnation and diatribes against the police by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in the conventional media and especially the social media arising from the recently concluded December 10, re-run parliamentary elections in the state, an election comparatively adjudged to be free, credible and fair from policing perspective by major stakeholders. The Nigeria Police is not a vigilante component of any state.
“The police are law enforcement officers who are sworn to oaths of office, allegiance and secrecy which they hold sacrosanct. Police officers, particularly during the election in view, put in their best in ensuring a hitch free exercise. As is widely known, a DSP paid the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty in Rivers State.
“Considering all these, it is very unfair, insensitive and uncharitable to cast aspersions on the name of the police in order to score cheap political points. The Police must be insulated from politics. The era of political police officer is gone and the apolitical nature of policing must be sustained and strengthened.
“The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, officers who the governor kept referring to in his diatribes against the police were indeed at the scene to arrest hoodlums who were there to cart away ballot papers. The video clips trending in the media is obviously skewed and doctored to suit predetermined political agenda.
“A sincere and discerning mind would observe in the video that the clearly and visibly shaken electoral officer, Mary Tunkuyo held on tight to the FSARS commander, pleading with him to save her from the political thugs who invaded the collation centre. It would also be observed that another electoral officer was pointing out the trouble makers to the FSARS operatives who had just arrived.
“Furthermore, it is clearly on record and in the video that no police officer carted away electoral material, not even a single ballot paper. It is rather unfortunate that the cameraman, in all the confusion, deliberately or mischievously chose to focus on the security agents only, ignoring the thugs they were there to dislodge and arrest, thereby creating a false illusion.
“It is of utmost importance that extreme caution be exercised when making claims especially unsubstantiated ones to avoid heating up the polity, inciting violence and polarising the nation. People in positions of authority should avoid promoting violence through their conducts and unguarded statements.
“In the same vein, it is absolutely important that the media understands its role in national development and resist the temptation to be dragged and used for negative political self-serving agenda. The media is critical in the formulation of public opinion, policies and perception. And at all times, balanced and unbiased reportage should be the hallmark of journalism.
“The IGP believes in the sanctity of the law, respect for constituted authority, upholding the rights of citizens and protection of officers who are dedicated to their duty.
“If there is any professional misconduct on the part of any policeman known to the governor or any other person, they should be bold enough to report such through the right channels to enable the police investigate accordingly and not resort to a campaign of calumny and media grandstanding.
“It is hoped that in the light of the facts laid bare through this medium, the recent wave of unwarranted accusations meted out to the police will be put to final rest”, according to Don Awuna, deputy commissioner of Police and Force public relations officer, who signed the statement.
— Dec 26, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT