Controversial Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr. Joseph Mbu, said on Tuesday that he was not prepared to ‘throw in the towel’ over the political crisis rocking the state.
Mbu explained that there was no reason for him to resign since he had been investigated and cleared of any wrongdoing by the police high command and the Police Service Commission.
Speaking in response to questions from the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Paulinus Igwe, who led members of his committee, including Senator Hadi Sirike, on a fact-finding mission to the state, Mbu also stated why he refused to give permit to the Save Rivers Movement to hold its aborted rally on Sunday in Port Harcourt.
Rivers has a been a theatre of unending political crisis since April 2013, with Mbu fingered by the state government and the National Assembly among others, as playing a more than passing interest in the affairs of the state.
Members of the Senate are in the state to investigate the circumstances surrounding the dispersal of a rally by the police acting on Mbu’s orders, which resulted in the alleged shooting of a lawmaker representing Rivers South East, Senator Magnus Abe, on Sunday in Port Harcourt.
The conversation between the chairman of the Senate committee and Mbu went thus:
Igwe: Are you prepared to throw in the towel as the commissioner of police considering the condemnation that has trailed this incident and repeated calls for you to leave the state.
Mbu: I have no reason to throw in the towel as a police officer. I have been investigated by the Police High Command and the Police Service Commission, which are the two regulatory bodies for the police force and I have not been found wanting. So, there is no reason for me to resign from the police force if that is what you mean.
Igwe: How would you describe your relationship with Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi?
Mbu: Our working relationship is cordial. We exchange text messages frequently on the security situation in the state. We speak to one another anytime there is need for us to do so.
Igwe: Senator Abe confided in me that the Save Rivers Movement applied for a permit for the rally but you turned it down. Why?
Mbu: I turned down their request for a permit to converge at the venue of the proposed rally because on the two occasions they applied for police permit they sold us a dummy. They applied for a permit to organize a welfare empowerment at the Liberation Stadium at Elekahia, in Port Harcourt, and I granted it because I believed what they said they wanted to do.
Any person in the position of authority should support welfare programmes designed to help the poor, the sick and the under -privileged. But what happened? We in the command were surprised when we realized it was an APC declaration rally.