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Divided Senate Summons Police IG Over Rivers Crisis
The Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, to brief it on the crisis that erupted during a rally in Rivers State on January 12, that led to the alleged shooting of a senator, Magnus Abe.
In a voice vote, however, the lawmakers rejected the call for the redeployment of the state commissioner of police, Joseph Mbu, and the condemnation of the state police command for allegedly ordering the shooting of Abe.
Before reading out the resolutions of the House to members of the Red Chamber, Senate President David Mark frowned at the series of crisis that has continually placed the state in the spotlight politically.
“What is happening in Rivers is clearly unacceptable and must be condemned irrespective of who is behind it. The Senate must take immediate step to protect democracy and we must ensure that Rivers State gets back to the right,” Mark said.
He assured that the National Assembly would do everything to defend democracy – “Let no one be in doubt that we are committed to defending the voiceless in the country,” he said.
Earlier, three senators – James Manager, Ahmed Lawan and Abdulkadir Jajere – were engaged in heated arguments following a debate on a motion raised by Wilson Ake and 48 others, which nearly degenerated into fisticuffs but for the intervention of the Senate President.
Ake had in the motion sought four prayers including resolution of the Senate to condemn what he termed “unjustifiable disruption and interruption” of the rally by men of the Rivers State police command, occasioned by sporadic shootings on January 21.
He also wanted the Senate to immediately put in motion the implementation of an earlier resolution calling for the redeployment of Mbu, without any further delay.
Another prayer was for the Senate to invite the IG to brief the House on the issue and give situation report on the state crisis.
The motion also condemned the Rivers State Police Command for ordering the shooting of Abe and other victims of the attack on January 12, at Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Port Harcourt.
Another lawmaker from Rivers State, George Sekibo, however, stressed the need for the Senate to investigate the matter before making conclusions and suggested that a delegation of the Senate sent to visit their ailing colleague at a London hospital where he is admitted, should inform the house on the position of his health so that it can take informed decisions.