GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has described as a blackmail, the report of the committee set up by Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of Police, IGP, which probed the December 10 last year’s bloody legislative rerun. Wike also described the police’s allegations as “shameful”, “defamatory” and “reckless.”
In a reaction put forward by Austin Tam-George, commissioner for Information and Communications, on Tuesday, February 7, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the state government claimed that the committee was being economical with the truth.
Tam-George said: “The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the melodramatic images of heaps of cash, circulated in the media by the so-called police panel of inquiry into the rerun elections in Rivers State, on the 10th of December, 2016.
“According to the police, the heaps of money were ‘evidence’ of bribe allegedly given to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, during the rerun polls.
“We consider the allegations of the police as shameful, defamatory and reckless in the extreme. Never in the annals of infamy have we seen a vital state security institution descend to the lowest depths of blackmail and criminality, as the Nigeria Police Force has done in this case.
“A month ago, we alerted the world to the dark, Orwellian plot by the Nigeria police to implicate Governor Wike in a phoney bribe scandal. Now, the police appear to be acting with shocking predictability, by making wild and completely groundless allegations against Governor Wike.
“The Rivers State Government challenges the Nigeria Police to show proof that Governor Wike financially induced any official of INEC. Do the police have bank records of the purported transactions between Governor Wike and the electoral officers? We challenge the Nigeria police to move quickly to prosecute and imprison the so-called electoral officers on the basis of this dubious investigation.”
Tam-George said Wike’s administration strongly believed that the committee was part of a bitter, politically-driven smear campaign, allegedly launched by the federal government against the state governor and the people.
He noted that the government also believed that the police were desperately seeking to divert attention from the alleged disgraceful and criminal roles played by their officials, in the snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes during the December polls.
Tam-George said the state would not succumb to what he called the “juvenile antics” of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its security surrogates.
The police had on Tuesday, February 7, said that they recovered N111.3 million from 23 INEC officials who conducted the December 10, 2016 rerun in Rivers State. The cash, they claimed, was part of the N360 million bribe allegedly paid by Governor Wike to compromise electoral and security officials for his party’s candidates to win.
The unnamed officials have been indicted for their involvement in the violence that occurred during the election, the police said. Police said six of their men indicted for their role during the election had been dismissed. They are to be prosecuted.
— Feb 8, 2017 @ 14:55 GMT