The Imo State Police Command has defended its decision to withdraw its personnel attached to the Imo State Committee for Recovery of Government Property led by Jasper Ndubuaku.
The Command, in a release, by the Police Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, stated that it became imperative to pull out Policemen earlier attached to the Committee, after it discovered that it was constantly harassing and intimidating victims at their homes in unholy hours in the guise of searching for government properties.
Chairman of the Committee, Ndubuaku, who was assaulted by youths were trying to break into the private residence of the immediate governor with members of the Committee, had accused the State Commissioner of Police of frustrating the activities of the Committee by refusing to give them Police cover.
But the statement swiftly issued by the Command, reads: “The attention of the Imo State Police Command has been drawn to the press briefing by the Chairman of the State Recovery Committee Hon. Jasper Ndubuaku, in which he claimed that he applied for Police protection to carry out their duties which he claimed that the Commissioner of Police refused to give.
“The Command wishes to state in clear terms that upon the set-up of the committee and their assumption of operations, armed police personnel were attached to them for the protection of the committee members. However, the Police personnel were withdrawn based on the following reasons; complaints on hostile and aggressive approach of the committee using armed policemen attached to the Committee.
“Complaints of constant intimidation of victims and other members of the public by the Committee in the course of their operations”.
The statement also noted: “Policemen operating without the presence of the Committee members and sometimes the Policemen going for recovery operations on their own of which the Commissioner of Police personally intervened.
“Operating at unholy hours, in some cases by armed Police personnel, thus causing serious embarrassment to the Force and the state government and complaints that the Committee operates without due process or legal backing.
“Sequel to the observations above, the Commissioner of Police withdrew the personnel, summoned the Committee Chairman, of which he came and apologized and promised to follow due process in subsequent operations.
“However when the personnel were returned back to the Committee, usual complaints from the public led to the recent withdrawal of the personnel.
“The Commissioner of Police then informed the Chairman that he can only restore their security personnel if due process is followed which the Command is still waiting”.
Also exonerating the Command from complicity in the assault of the Committee Chairman, the statement added, “furthermore, on the issue of the assault on the Committee Chairman, the Chairman did not seek for Police protection to go and serve any letter or Court Order at the premises of the former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, and he went without other members of his Committee.
“The Command only received a distress call about some protesting youths going to the house of the former governor, as such, the Command mobilized teams to the place to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
“The Command is therefore miffed with the allegation of sabotage by the Chairman of the Committee against the Commissioner of Police CP Rabiu Ladodo, who has displayed high level of professionalism in the affairs of the state and has remained fair to both parties (present and former). The investigation into the assault on the Chairman has since commenced and arrests were immediately made.
“The command therefore advice the Recovery Committee to follow due process in their operation and also come for Police protection provided they will abide with the ethics of the Police profession and work in line with international best practices during their operations. Police shall continue to provide safety and security to everyone within Imo State as Police loyalty to the good people of the state and the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains total”.