Police officers dismissed for misusing firearms and being overzealous
Politics Nigeria has gotten full details into the arrest and dismissal of Police officers attached to Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike , during the Rivers rerun elections in December 2016.
Police PRO, Don Awunah revealed to PN that the officers erred in their conduct during the elections. He stated;
Gentlemen of the press, you are welcome to today’s press briefing at Force headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja. Let me also use the opportunity to wish us all a happy new year.
Democratic Policing is one of the core values of the current Police management under the leadership of IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, NPM, mni. The IGP as an ardent apostle of the rule of law and adherent of international best practices of Policing has since assumption of office articulated a master plan to guarantee a reformed electoral process across the country. This is a novel security template devoid of violence, electoral malpractices and attendant destruction of lives and property which have been a recurring decimal in previous elections in the country.
2. Undoubtedly, this master plan as implemented by the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies under the auspices of Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, (ICCES), has proved largely successful and should engender a credible roadmap for the foot-proof security of future elections in Nigeria.
3. The IGP has also instituted comprehensive measures to ensure compliance with strict rules of professional behaviours and code of conduct for officers and men under his watch. To this extent, they are under obligation to conform to the dictates of enabling laws while carrying out their statutory responsibilities to the letter.
4. Consequently, personnel of the Force who abuse their office, privileges and discretionary powers in the discharge of their official duties, will be brought to justice.
5. In the case of the recent parliamentary election in Rivers State, the IGP’s resolve to secure the process, was reciprocated with the unethical conduct of some bad eggs within the Force.
6. Inspite of strict warnings and instructions from the IGP that all Police personnel on election duty should be of good conduct and desist from escorting their principals, notably public office holders and politicians to polling units throughout the period of the election, some recalcitrant police personnel were still found blatantly breaching these directives. This is unacceptable by all standards in the Force.
7. Therefore, in the course of discreet investigations into the above misconduct, the following personnel of the Force were found to have in total disrespect to orders and directives, compromised, engaged in unprofessional acts and other unbecoming conduct.
8. These acts, if not checked can be inimical to discipline and proper administration of the Force. Their actions are capable of bringing the entire Nigeria Police Force to disrepute and portray the Force in a very bad light as a lawless organization not guided by the rule of law. The officers are as follows:
i. AP/No.177893 EX. Inspr. Eyong Victor
ii. F/No. 400872 EX. Sgt Peter Ekpo
iii. F/No.374585 EX. Sgt Oguni Goodluck
iv. F/No. 385870 EX. Sgt. Orji Nwoke
v. F/No. 234216 EX. Sgt. Okpe Ezekiel
vi. F/No. 437983 EX. Sgt. Tanko Akor
9. These aforementioned Police personnel while in the convoy of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State Barr. Nyesom Wike on the date of election, 10th December, 2016 misused the firearms in their possession contrary to the provisions of 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.
10. The six (6) Police officers, after the conclusion of investigation 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.
11. The IGP wishes to restate the commitment of the force to carry out its constitutional obligations in accordance to the law of the land before, during and after every election in Nigeria. This will be done in a very professional manner bearing in mind the need not only to be unbiased but to be seen by members of the public as responsive and responsible security agency in election security in the country.
12. Nigerians should rest assured that the IGP and indeed the entire management team of the Force will not be deterred in its resolve to rid the Nigeria Police Force of personnel who indulge in actions or inactions that amount to unprofessional and serious misconduct.
13. The IGP commends all officers and men of the Force for their dedication, commitment, sacrifice, hard work and display of utmost professionalism in their service to the country despite daunting challenges. Without doubts, our sacrifices and sincerity of purpose will be commensurately rewarded.