Six officers attached to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, were yesterday dismissed by the Nigeria Police Force for breaching its directive not to follow their principals during the December 2016 re-run elections in the state.
The six officers, who were alleged to have blocked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from performing its duties, were said to have displayed acts of indiscipline.
However, the affected officers denied the allegation saying they were being sacrificed as scapegoats.
Shortly after the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Donald Awunah disclosed reasons for the dismissal, a shouting match ensued as the officers denied the allegations and demanded to speak to the media.
The affected policemen include ex-Inspector Eyong Victor, ex-Sergeant Peter Ekpo, ex-Sergeant Oguni Goodluck, ex-sergeant Orji Nwoke, ex-Sergeant Okpe Ezekiel and ex-Sergeant Tanko Akor.
Awunah said: “In the course of discreet investigations into the misconduct, the six officers were found to have in total disrespect to orders and directives, compromised, engaged in unprofessional acts and other unbecoming conducts.’’
He said the Police officers while in the convoy of Wike on the day of the election, misused the firearms in their possession contrary to the provisions of the Force Order 237.
“The service personnel became overzealous, took laws into their hands and opened fire, causing panic in the crowd. They joined in storming the Port Harcourt City Council secretariat and prevented the movement of election results of Emouha polling unit to the appropriate collation centre designated by INEC, in flagrant disregard and disobedience to senior police officers present at the venue.
“The six police officers, after the conclusion of the investigations into this public mischief, were subjected to internal disciplinary measures, found guilty and consequently dismissed from the force. They will be prosecuted under the electoral act to serve as a deterrent to others”. However, after the briefing, the six officers while reacting angrily as they were being led out of the conference room, denied the allegation insisting that the gunshots being attributed to the governor’s convoy were actually shot by the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, personnel deployed by Force headquarters.
The officers said the FSARS personnel opened fire when they saw the governor’s convoy to scare away people. They further said: ‘’This is an injustice. They are the ones who detailed us to follow the governor. We were just doing our job. It was the Officer Commanding SARS that ordered his men to open fire as the governor was arriving. They know the truth, we did not shoot but they want to sacrifice us”.