It was like a movie scene as 15 policemen, in a command-like fashion, invaded the official residence of Chief Tony Okocha, the Chief of Staff to Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi, to effect the withdrawal of his security men.
They claimed to be acting on the orders of Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu.
Mbu and the state government have been at loggerheads as a result of which even the national assembly has authorised Inspector General of police Mohammed Abubakar to redeploy him. But he has declined.
The two policemen attached to Okocha’s residence opposite the Rivers State Government House were withdrawn. The invading policemen created a scene in the process, claiming they were under instruction to also withdrawn policemen on escort and guard duties with Okocha and the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), George Feyii.
It was learnt that when the 15 policemen got to Okocha’s official residence, they kept banging the gate, holding everybody in the expansive premises hostage, in a war-like situation.
The private security men and the two policemen being withdrawn initially thought they were to be killed and refused the invading policemen access to the building.
In the confusion, the security personnel on guard duty at Okocha’s official residence moved to a safe point in the compound, which made it impossible for the main gate to be immediately opened.
Okocha said last night: “The Special Protection Unit (SPU) of the Nigeria Police in Rivers State assigned some policemen to my official residence and for escort, but Mbu has withdrawn them and those with the SSG. We are left with only one orderly each.
“No reason was given for the withdrawal of the policemen. Before the withdrawal, I had three policemen on escort duty and two policemen at my official residence. The two policemen alternated day and night.
“My life is in danger. If anything goes wrong, Mbu should be held responsible. He does not pick my calls.
“There was pandemonium when the invading policemen got to my official residence and they held everybody to ransom. One of the private security men later opened the gate.”
The police signal of 9:55 am of October 24, 2013 (yesterday), from the SPU, which was obtained by The Nation, had as reference number: CB/4001/B/Dept/SPU/Base 6 Rivers/Vol 1/149.
Copies of the signal were sent to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 6, Calabar; Compol, SPU; SSQ, Abuja and the Compol B Ops.
The signal, titled: Orders and Directives, read in part: “You are directed to withdrawal all Special Protection Unit personnel posted on escort /guard duties attached to the Secretary to the Rivers State Government and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, leaving only an orderly each, with immediate effect. Ensure strict compliance please.”
No name was indicated on the signal, which bore “SPU Base 6, Port Harcourt.”
Rivers Police Spokesman Ahmad Muhammad was not available for comment.