April 11, 2023

Police explain why Plateau Assembly remains sealed

Plateau Assembly complex

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Bartholomew Onyeka has declared the State House of Assembly would remain sealed off until ongoing threats to cause mayhem and disrupt the peace of the State ends.

Recall that in the last one week, the State Assembly has been under seal by the Police as two members lay claim to the seat of the Speaker of the House.

CP Onyeka who addressed journalists on Tuesday in his office in Jos reiterated he is not taking side with any politician but only putting in place a measure to forestall any breach of public peace.

According to him, “This press briefing has become necessary as a result of what you all may have observed what our men at the Plateau State House of Assembly Complex have been doing since the 4th of April 2023. On the 3rd of April 2023, the Plateau State Police Command, through Social Media got the information that Rt. Hon. Abok Ayuba, the former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly who was impeached on Thursday October 28, 2021, got judgment in his favour to be reinstated as the Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly, a development which the Command was not duly served or officially informed as at the time.

“This suggests that on 3rd of April, 2023 the honourable members had an unrestricted and unfettered access to the Plateau State House of Assembly which ordinarily is a clear testimony that the House of Assembly was unsealed before that judgment was passed. Therefore on the 4th April 2023, having gotten information that some mischievous persons who, based on intelligence mobilized sufficiently to ensure that they gain unrestricted access by whatever means necessary to the House of Assembly Complex, I took that decision to ensure that the State House of Assembly is safe and that neither life nor property is lost.

“In view of the intelligence I got, an invitation was sent to the honourable members of the State House of Assembly which they honoured and came with their team of lawyers, there and then along with Members of my Management Team, they were advised not to do anything that will lead to breakdown of law and order hence, the deployment of Police men to guard the premises because it will be a negligence and dereliction of duty on my part if having gotten the above intelligence, I fail to do that for which I’m here to do, which is to protect lives and properties and above all, to ensure the continued peace in Plateau State so that life and business can go on smoothly.”

He added, “The deployment of Police personnel to the State House of Assembly wasn’t targeted against any group or persons, as it was merely preventive to maintain peace, protect lives and properties and to prevent the breakdown of law and order.
After taking such measures, the Police who is also a party in the suit, filed notices and injunctions of appeal and stay of execution on the same 3rd of April 2023 which was equally served on the parties concerned.

“From that period, series of meeting have been held with the view toward ensuring that the Plateau State House of Assembly Complex is secured adequately. I would now want to state it categorically clear that the CP, Bartholomew Onyeka, is not a politician and all other police officers are non partisan, hence I appeal to the good people of Plateau State, the traditional rulers, elders of the State, religious leaders, parents and guardians, women groups, the Youths and all residents of Plateau State to avoid being used by any person or group of persons to achieve their self-serving, selfish ambitions.

“On our part as the Police we are only concerned to ensure that Plateau State remains peaceful for all to live in and the Commissioner of Police would not fold his arms and watch the honourable members of the Plateau State House of Assembly turn the premises of the Assembly into a battle field or a boxing ring. My powers as enshrined in section 214 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and section 4 of the Police Acts 2020 is relevant. I urge all law abiding citizens of Plateau State to go about their lawful businesses and the warring parties to seek peaceful ways of settling their differences in accordance with the rule of law.”