Police behind kidnapping, robberies in Rivers – Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has accused the Nigeria Police of masterminding kidnappings, armed robberies and other crimes in the state.

He specifically accused men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), headed by Mr. Akin Fakorede, of being behind most of the crimes in the state.

Briefing newsmen at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, the governor, who had earlier called for the removal of the SARS commander immediately after the re-run elections in the state over alleged electoral fraud, said the intention was to create an impression of insecurity in the state.

According to him, the SARS commander was planted in the state to sabotage the security architecture of the state and create an atmosphere of fear.

He said his allegation was further confirmed by the recent discovery by the Inspector General of Police X-Squad, Abuja, recently deployed to the state.

According to him, the IG’s squad bust the attempted kidnap of one Azumana Ifeanyi at GRA, Port Harcourt, on September 11, 2017, adding that those behind the kidnap later turned out to be SARS operatives.

Showing a document, believed to be signal from the IG’s office, Abuja, the governor disclosed how the squad received a distress call about the kidnap of Mr. Ifeanyi and immediately swung into action.

He said the SARS operatives had compelled the victim to take them to a Fidelity Bank branch, where he was forced to withdraw the sum of N500,000 as ransom, using the ATM.

The victim’s brother was said to have alerted a member of IG’s squad, who moved to the scene and engaged the SARS operatives in a shootout.

During the gun duel, one of the SARS operatives, identified by the governor as one of those captured in the video he released earlier, accusing the police of compromise during the 2015 elections, was killed.

According to the governor, the victim’s brother, who alerted the IG’s squad was shot dead by SARS operatives, while Inspector Justice Nyeche, who led the IGP’s team was injured during the gun battle.

He said the official police signal had the title: “Police Wireless Message” and with Reference Number DT0: 121030/09/2017 —NIGENPOL-X-FHQ ABUJA TO-INGENPOL SEC ABUJA.

Governor Wike said: “Most of the kidnappings and armed robberies, taking place in this state are carried out by men of SARS. They use exhibit vehicles to operate. As the Chief Security Officer of the state, you complain, but they choose to play politics with crime.

“They fight crime in some states, but refuse to fight crime in Rivers State. We are done with the elections, but they are using SARS to create insecurity in the state.

“As I speak with you, they will deny. But the SARS operative, who was killed was among those who raided the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre. This man can be identified in the video, as one of those who invaded the Collation Centre with Fakorede.”

The governor stated that the acts of violence, being perpetrated by the police had been planned, as part of the rigging process for 2019.

“I have never seen a country, where they politicise crime. It is very obvious that they want to give the impression that Rivers State is unsafe. They want to instill fears, preparatory to declaring during the elections, that they are so much killing.

“Authorities, deliberately trying to destroy a whole state, and you want the people to be happy. I will no longer write. Now is the time to take my case to the public, for the whole world to know what is happening.”

The governor said that his administration had invested more than any other state in logistics for security agents in the state, and wondered why they still worked against the state.

He cited instances where he recently donated four Amoured Personnel Carriers(APC) and 12 Hilux buses to security agencies in the state.

The SARS commander was accused by the governor of raiding the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre on December 12, 2016.

However, when contacted for his reaction, Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Command, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, said he was in a meeting, adding that police would issue a rejoinder later.

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