BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME, Port Harcourt
About fifty Policemen yesterday sealed off Obio-Akpor local government secretariat.
Chairman of the newly constituted Caretaker Committee for the council, Mr. Chikordi Dike who confirmed the development to newsmen said about fifty policemen led by the Divisional Police officer; DPO from Rumudomaya came and ordered everyone to vacate the secretariat, saying they were acting on the orders of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu
Effort made to reach the Commissioner of Police proved abortive as his lines were switched off.
Meantime, the development caused tension in the area. It would be recalled that barely two weeks ago the state House of Assembly suspended the elected Chairman of the Council, Mr. Timothy Nsirim, his Vice and the seventeen councilors over allegations of misappropriation of public funds. The state government went ahead to appoint a seven man caretaker committee for the council pending determination of investigations of the allegations leveled against the suspended local government officials.
The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, in the state, Mr. Felix Obuah had in a press statement shortly after the caretaker committee was set up handed the House of Assembly forty eight hours ultimatum to reverse the suspension of the elected council officials.
Meanwhile, when contacted on the development at the local government yesterday, the state Police Public Relations officer, DSP Ben Ugwuegbulem said policemen were deployed to the local government to secure the place from attack, adding that they got wind of plan by some hoodlums to storm the place.
Another source told the Vanguard that the Police actually came to ask the newly caretaker committee to vacate the council, adding that there was tension when the caretaker committee chairman and the members insisted on a court order directing them to vacate their seats.
In a related development, a middle age man was shot dead yesterday at a bank on Ikwerre road, close to Emenike Bustop. Details of the incident were hazy at press time, but Vanguard gathered that the deceased was shot dead inside the banking hall.
When contacted for comment, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ugwuegbulam said the deceased was not a robber, adding that he was shot dead by another security agency. He declined further comments when pressed for details.
Some of those who gathered at the premises of the bank shortly after the incident told the Vanguard that there was alarm that attracted Policemen to the bank, saying that all they later heard was the death of the man. They said the Police could not give meaningful explanation to the eyewitnesses on circumstances surrounding why the middle aged man was shot dead inside the bank.
“The man was not a robber. He looked so innocent when they brought out his corpse. The Police who had been here could not tell us onlookers why the man was shot dead”, some of them told the Vanguard.