The Nigeria Police Force on Friday dismissed six officers attached to the Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State over alleged professional misconducts during legislative rerun elections that held in the oil-rich state last year, the spokesperson for the force said.
The six dismissed cops are an inspector, Eyong Victor; and five sergeants, Peter Ekpo, Oguni Goodluck, Orji Nwoke, Tanko Akor and Okpe Ezekiel.
The spokesperson for the police, Don Awunah, who paraded them in Abuja on Friday disclosed that they misused firearms and sabotaged the Independent National Electoral Commission while on the side of Mr. Wike during a collation exercise in Port Harcourt.
According to Awunah:
These aforementioned police personnel while in the convoy of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on the date of election on December 10, 2016 misused the firearms in their possession contrary to the provisions of Force Order 237.
The 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.
They will be prosecuted under the Electoral Act to serve as deterrent to others.
Meaanwwhile, the Rivers government, in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Austin Tam-George, condemned the action of the police authorities.
This is a tragic day for professionalism and the respect for human rights in the Nigeria police force,” Mr. Tam-George said in the statement.
The dismissed officers committed no crime, other than foil a carefully orchestrated electoral heist by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in collusion with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Nigeria Police force.
The statement said the allegation that the affected policemen misused their firearms while in the convoy of the governor was “a wrong and cruel fabrication”, adding that the governor did not leave his official residence on that day.
Two days after the elections, on the 12th of December 2016, thousands of Rivers people, led by Governor Wike, resisted an invasion by the police on the premises of the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, in a brazen attempt to rig the elections in favour of the APC.
The Port Harcourt City Council was the Election Collation Centre for the Rivers East Senatorial District.
The December 10 electoral exercise was marred by widespread violence and irregularities. At least two police officers were killed during the election.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, INEC said a total 61 electoral offenders have been successfully prosecuted since 2015 with the cooperation of the police.