The Rivers State National Assembly caucus has raised the alarm over the recent setting up of a parallel Task Force in the state by the Commissioner of Police, John Mukam.
Furthermore, the caucus has accused the Police Commissioner of attempting to run a parallel government in the state.
Indeed, their position was communicated in a press statement signed by two lawmakers; Senator George Sekibo and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Kingsley Chinda. Equally important, the statement was made available to the media on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
The caucus claims that the Rivers Commissioner of Police, acting under the instructions of the Inspector-General of Police; had set up a parallel Task Force in the guise of a Technical Committee to ensure movement of agricultural products; as well as other essential items into Rivers State. In fact, it held that the committee has saddled with the task of determining entry into Rivers State during the lockdown.
While querying the silence of the IG of Police, Mohammed Adamu since the development became public; the caucus disclosed that his silence means that the action actually had his consent even as it condemned it in its entirety.
Further, it highlighted the movement of almajiris hidden in trucks making their way into Rivers; noting that the Police Commissioner’s action would invariably worsen the potentially dangerous situation.
‘‘The case of Rivers State now and indeed most Southern States is, every day; trucks ostensibly carrying food items come into Rivers State with 30-40 young men mischaracterized as “Almajaris”. These are able bodied young men leaving their states to Rivers State; under the eyes and watch of the Nigerian Police and utterly against the lockdown order of the State and Federal Governments. In this instance, the Rivers State Government reserves the right to stop such violation and punish the violators. While we cannot stop them between Kano and Abia States where the Nigeria Police freely allow them passage; we can stop them at our borders and within our territory. The whole idea of temporary ban on inter-state movement of passengers is to check new infestations and spread of Covid-19.
‘‘This development is sour and highly confrontational not only to the authorities of the Rivers State Government; but to her citizens and residents. It is essentially, antithetical to and a reversal of the aims and purposes of the Covid-19 inter-state lockdown; and measures to curb the pandemic thereto. It is in this regard, that we join the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers to request the Inspector-General of Police to reconsider this line of action. We run a Federal system of government and cannot afford to have two Chief Executives in Rivers State at the same time; that’s clearly an invitation to anarchy.
‘‘For the avoidance of any ambiguity, we urge the Inspector General of Police to do first things first; which is, enforcing the ban on inter-state movement as ordered by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the complete failure of the police in this regard that has worsened the Covid-19 pandemic, not only in Rivers, but nationwide.’’
Also, the caucus drew the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the situation; urging him to call the IG of Police to order.
‘‘We vehemently believe that it is not the intendment of Mr. President to establish a parallel government authority in Rivers State using the instrumentality of the Nigeria Police, and so do hereby appeal to Mr. President to nip this ugly development in the bud by restraining the Inspector-General of Police from establishing a parallel government in Rivers State by whatever name called.’’