•IGP dismisses 3 police personnel involved
•Delta Oil Advocacy C’ttee asks militants to spare oil facilities
•Oshiomhole outraged, calls for prosecution of culprits
By Etop Ekanem, Henry Umoru, Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Joseph Erunke & Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — ELDER statesman and prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, wrote a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and top police officers were behind the raid at his Abuja home, on Tuesday.
The erstwhile Federal Commissioner for Information, in the petition he copied the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd), said there were serious questions that ought to be determined by President Buhari with regards to not only the fact that he was placed under suspicion, but also the fact that a search warrant could be procured against him on demeaning allegations that he was involved in gun-running.
This came as the IGP, yesterday, approved the dismissal of three inspectors involved in the raid; even as the National Chairman of All progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, called for the prosecution of the officers involved.
Similarly, Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, led by the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro, urged aggrieved militants not to attack oil facilities.
Querying the rationale behind the arrest of four junior officers he said merely obeyed directives from their superiors to raid his home, Chief Clark, said “there was an extreme level of conspiracy involved in this case which ought to be duly probed and investigated.”
AIG okayed raid on my home — Clark
He told President Buhari that shortly before his home was ransacked by officers and men of the IGP Tactical Squad, a former Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Ambassador Boladei Igali, who was his guest, placed a call to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Federal Intelligence) Mr. Umoru Usman Shehu, who he said spoke with the leader of the search party and authorized them to go ahead with their assignment.
Chief Clark said the search team informed him that they acted on the instructions of the IGP and also identified the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Yusuf Kolo, as their commander.
He said it was, therefore, baffling and unfortunate that the top echelon of the Police would “publicly and brazenly deny knowledge of the search, in spite of the evidence of clear contacts made with them before the search commenced.”
Though Chief Clark said he accepted apologies from the Police authorities, he demanded that the case be “comprehensively probed and thoroughly investigated to fish out all the conspirators” that masterminded the invasion of his residence without due cause.
The Police had, on Wednesday, admitted that their men conducted the raid on the strength of a false tip-off from an informant identified as Ismail Yakubu, a resident of Waru village in Abuja.
The petition, marked KACCL/PET/KA/76/18, which Chief Clark wrote through his team of lawyers, led by Dr. Kayode Ajulo, was also copied to the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Interior, Chairman of Police Service Commission and President of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Titled “Petition and A Call for a Comprehensive Probe Over the Unwarranted Raid of The Residence of Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON,’’ the petition read: “Our Client is a foremost Nigerian lawyer, politician, nationalist and elder statesman at a graceful age of 92 and he has pointedly played major roles in restoring and promoting peace and order in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger-Delta…
“Our client did brief us that at about 12:30pm on Tuesday, the 4th day of September, 2018, officers and men of the IGP Tactical Squad (a unit under the direct command of the Inspector General of Police) alongside pressmen invaded and ransacked his Asokoro residence on the pretext that they were in search of arms and ammunition. However, despite the siege and search, they found nothing incriminating on our client.
“Having so searched in vain, the Inspector-General of Police, in the face of the impudent search conducted on the property of our Client, has publicly denied any knowledge of the said search and has immediately ordered the arrest of the four junior officers, who were responsible for the search and tendered a public apology to our client.
“Taking into consideration the circumstances of the invasion and uncivilized search conducted on his property, and the attendant embarrassment caused to our client and what he stands for, it is imperative to hold the view that there are serious questions, which ought to be determined forthwith and without mincing words.
“It will be rather unfortunate for junior officers and men of the IGP Tactical squad who were at best acting on the orders of their superiors to fall prey in this regard. It beats our client’s imagination that despite the fact that our client has the compliments of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Services protecting him, his property, and overseeing his daily activities, such level of conspiracy could be perpetuated against him.
“He wonders what exactly warranted such unfounded suspicion on his person to the extent that a search warrant could be procured against him on the demeaning allegation that he is involved in gun-running.
“Our client further briefed us and we confirmed that at the point where officers and men of the IGP Tactical Squad were to commence their search, having introduced themselves, stating that they were acting under the instructions of the Inspector-General of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police Yusuf Kolo as their commander. Ambassador Boladei Igali (former SSG Bayelsa State and former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Power) who was with our client at the venue of the search put a call through to Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Federal Intelligence) Umoru Usman Shehu, who spoke with the leader of the search party and gave authority to go ahead with the search.
“It is therefore baffling and unfortunate that the top echelon of the Nigeria Police Force will publicly and brazenly deny the knowledge of the search conducted on such an eminent personality as our client, in spite of the evidence of clear contacts made with them before the search commenced.
“However, in the face of all the denials and apologies, our client believes that there was an extreme level of conspiracy involved in this case, which ought to be duly probed and investigated.
Issues for interrogation
‘’Having critically considered the issues at hand we have respectfully raised the following salient questions for determination:
* What was the ground for the reasonable suspicion which warranted the procurement of a search warrant on the residence of our client?
* Knowing fully well that the Nigeria Police Force has its rank and file, could it be said that the four arrested officers of the IGP Tactical Squad, being a unit under the Inspector General of Police, acted on their own volition without any authority of a superior officer?
* Who is the senior officer that authorized the procurement of the search warrant, knowing fully well the perquisite and procedure of procuring such warrant?
* Will it not be right to say that the act of the conspirators is calculated to intimidate, harass, embarrass and humiliate the person of our client and ultimately cause unrest and commotion in the Niger-Delta Region?
* Could it be inferred that there is a deliberate mischief calculated to embarrass the government of the day by provoking disturbances in the Niger-Delta Region, which has experienced relative peace in the recent time?
“The above are salient questions which ought to be thoroughly explained, in detail, for the sake of posterity and our National integrity, which ought to be preserved.
“It is public knowledge that our client has been a frontline advocate against taking up of arms by the youths of the Niger-Delta and he has been responsible for brokering peace between the Niger-Delta and several administrations in Nigeria, in leading the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), our client has joined other stakeholders to put a halt to youth restiveness and wanton destruction of oil pipelines in the region and ultimately restore peace, thereby increasing production of Nigeria’s sustenance in oil production and encouraging foreign participation, however the invasion of his Asokoro-Abuja residence has since fanned wrong embers, caused uproar and pandemonium in the Niger-Delta of which our clients and others have been assiduously working to curtail.
Our client appreciates unreserved double apologies by the Nigerian Police; the first of which was conveyed by the delegation of the IGP, lead by Deputy Inspector General of Police, Habila Joshak (Operations), Assistant Inspector General of Police, David Ogbodo (Legal), Commissioner of Police Abu Sani (IGP Monitoring Unit) and Commissioner of Police of FCT and the second, which was publicly tendered on behalf of the Nigerian Police Force by the Force PRO Deputy Commissione of Police, Jimoh Moshood.
“While our client accept the apologies, it is his sole demand that this case be comprehensively probed and thoroughly investigated to fish out all the conspirators who masterminded the invasion of his residence without due cause.’’
IGP dismisses 3 police personnel that raided Clark’s house
Meanwhile, the IGP, yesterday, approved the dismissal from the service of the Nigeria Police Force, three inspectors involved in the search of Chief Edwin Clark’s house.
In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Jimoh Moshood, the Police said the Assistant Superintendent of Police, David Dominic,who led the illegal search team,was still being investigated and would face his own punishment appropriately.
The names of the dismissed inspectors are Godwin Musa with service number AP/No. 18858; Sada Abubakar, AP/No. 225812; and Yabo Paul, AP/No. 225828.
The IGP, according to the statement, ordered immediate interdiction of ASP David Dominic with service number AP. No 158460.
The statement said they were involved “in the unauthorized, illegal and unprofessional misconduct in the search of the residence of Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark in Asokoro, Abuja on 4th September, 2018.”
The statement read further: “Ap. No. 158460 ASP David Dominic was queried and being investigated for Discreditable Conduct, Negligence of Duty and an Act unbecoming of a Police officer which constitute serious misconduct and if not checked can be inimical to the image of the Nigeria Police Force and violation of fundamental human rights of the Elder statesman as provided for in the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as amended. The gravity of the offences against the officer is serious in nature and dismissal from service is imminent.
“Consequently, the Inspector-General of Police approved that AP. No 158460 ASP David Dominic, be on interdiction from Service pending the determination of his case by the Police Service Commission.
“The IGP also approved and upheld the dismissal from service of (i) AP/No. 18858 Inspr Godwin Musa (ii) AP/No. 225812 Inspr Sada Abubakar and (iii) AP/No. 225828 Inspr Yabo Paul, after the trio were tried under Oath in Orderly Room Trial for Discreditable Conduct, Illegal duty, Disobedience to Lawful Order and other misconduct contrary to the Rule of Law.
“The suspect (Informant) Ismail Yakubu from Waru Village, Apo District, Abuja, has been charged to Upper Area Court Mpape, Abuja for giving false information and telling falsehood that misled Police action.”
Oshiomhole shocked, tasks IGP on prosecution of officers
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, the APC National Chairman said he was “shocked to learn about the raid on the Abuja residence’’ of Chief Clark and was even more baffled and embarrassed that no reason was given for that invasion and from the comments by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, the raid was not authorized by the police hierarchy.
“Therefore, the IGP has a responsibility not only to detain the policemen involved but to also ensure they are diligently prosecuted in court.
‘’Anything short of that will be unacceptable…I share in the pain and embarrassment Chief Clark was subjected to by the said police officers, particularly as no reason had been given for the action.
‘’This is one matter the IGP must never sweep under the carpet. It should be further reiterated that no Nigerian would be allowed to be subjected to such recklessness or impunity.’’
Advocacy c’ttee asks militants to spare oil facilities
Also, the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, yesterday asked aggrieved militants in Niger Delta creeks to keep the peace and maintain stability in the oil environment.
Deputy Governor of Delta State, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, who chairs the committee, stated this when he led Delta Ijaw Political Assembly, DIPA, to visit Chief Edwin Clark in Abuja, saying the elder statesman remained healthy, following reported illegal raid by the Police on his Abuja residence.
The raid had raised concerns on the state of health of the nonagenarian Ijaw and South-South geopolitical leader, even as aggrieved militants vowed immediate resumption of hostilities against Nigeria’s oil-based economy.
The aggrieved militants had, among other issues, cited Pa Clark’s travails as coming from his strident voice for restructuring, which they said the Federal Government was opposed to.
But Otuaro appealed to the aggrieved agitators to “help promote the causes Pa Clark stood for by continually employing responsible strategies in the quest for equity in the Nigerian nation.
‘’The issue of the embarrassing arms search of Pa Clark’s house in Abuja is already being amicably handled by Pa Clark and security agencies and there is no cause for alarm.
“The DIPA visit to Pa Clark was principally to show support for the elder statesman over his avowed commitment and standing for the greater part of his life, on peace, development and a united Nigeria, driven by justice, equity and fairness to all.
“We must, therefore, support and preserve these legacies. It is against this background that I on behalf of DIPA and the Delta State Advocacy Committee, appeal to all critical stakeholders of all the ethnic groups in Delta State, especially in the oil operating environment, to maintain peace and stability.”
Atiku, Okowa, Gov Udom visit Clark
Meanwhile, former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and his counterpart in Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom, yesterday, visited Chief Edwin Clark to sympathize with him over the raid of his house by the Police.
Atiku, who came shortly during the breaking of Kola nut, described the action of the police as an invasion on the privacy of the elder statesman but pleaded with him not to be deterred in speaking the truth on national issues, especially oppression, injustice and matters that will not bring about peace in the county.
Also speaking, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who described that raid as an embarrassment to Clark, called on the Inspector- General of Police, to ensure that justice was done on the matter.
Similarly, Governor Emmanuel Udom, who sent a high-powered delegation to visit Chief Clark, condemned the action.
He asked the Police to carry out a holistic investigation into the matter, just as he asked Clark not to give up and be deterred in his fight against injustice.