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Akwa Ibom police boss under fire over ‘assembly invasion’


[FILE PHOTO] Speaker Onofiok Luke

Calls for the removal of Akwa Ibom State Police Commissioner Musa Kimo intensified yesterday.

The police boss had been accused of complicity in an alleged plot by five sacked members of the state House of Assembly to impeach Speaker Onofiok Luke and Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Political thugs allegedly aided by the police had stormed the legislative complex on Tuesday.

At the Senate yesterday, Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom) told lawmakers that a top police officer led the invaders, claiming he personally witnessed the incident.

He accused Kimo of taking sides with the invaders and with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to truncate democracy in the state.

Advice by Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano) that the matter was already in court and senators should focus rather on national issues merely raised tempers amid attempts to shout down the lawmaker.

Intervening, Senate President Bukola Saraki noted: “We were all here when this chamber was invaded. We cannot tolerate the invasion of the hallowed chamber of any legislative house. It is completely unacceptable. The police affairs committee therefore should find out what happened and report back to the Senate within 48 hours.”

While the chamber deliberated, dozens of women in Akwa Ibom marched through major streets calling for Kimo’s removal. They were led by Commissioner for Women Affairs Glory Edet, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Women Leader Mmeme Akpabio, and Akon Eyakenyi, a former minister of lands.

“For the sake of peace in this state, we want the removal of Commissioner of Police Musa Kimo from our state. We have always had peace and we want that peace to continue. We cannot have a police force that will abet the level of illegality that we have witnessed in the House of Assembly,” Edet told reporters.

Kimo however insisted: “We will not be partisan but fair, just and responsible. Above all, we will be professional in the discharge of our duties. We will provide a level playing ground for everybody.”

He told journalists at command headquarters in Uyo: “Unfortunately, so much unsubstantiated information is being peddled,” a situation he said was causing him pain. He reminded the public that all House members have police details and that this was not peculiar to Akwa Ibom.

“I did not send any policeman to the Assembly. Do you know that if we had not deployed police to stay not far from the Assembly, possibly by now, the structure might not be there. Unfortunately, people do not appreciate what we do. We should be encouraged especially when we are doing the correct thing,” Kimo said.

He further refuted an allegation that the police arrested and released persons said to have been in possession of 18 AK-47 rifles. According to him, “What I know is that one person was arrested with one locally made pistol. He is in the state CID and investigation is ongoing. That is what I know. That is the report I received and was briefed on.”

But Kimo’s defence didn’t fly with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), which insisted that political thugs were given cover by security operatives to disrupt legislative activities.

At a press conference in Kaduna State, NANS Senate President Abdulmajeed Oyeniyi warned: “The leadership of Nigerian students wishes to remind the public that the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State was once a Senator of NANS and Speaker to the Nigerian Youth Parliament. At any attempt to stampede his activities as Speaker of Akwa lbom State House of Assembly, we will not hesitate to invade the state capital.”

Also in Abuja, a coalition of civil society organisations took the protest further, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris.

The coalition consisting of Concerned Nigerians, OurMumuDonDo Movement, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy, Mad Connect, and Campaign for Democracy made the demand during a peaceful march at Force Headquarters.

It alleged that Idris has a penchant for bias and willingness to be used as a tool against real or perceived enemies of the APC.

Meanwhile, popular rights activist Deji Adeyanju arrested yesterday has been arraigned at the Karshi Magistrate’s Court in Abuja and granted bail.

Adeyanju had planned a peaceful march tagged: ‘Police Are Not Politicians’. He and two others, Daniel Abobama and Boma Williams, were however detained for alleged disturbance of public peace, among other charges.

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