By Egufe Yafugborhi and Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT – The All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State have again been thrown into disagreement in the ongoing call for the removal of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, simply tagged ‘End SARS’ campaign.
The two political parties yesterday grounded activities in parts of Port Harcourt in the bid to make their position known on the status of SARS.
Whereas the APC rejected the call for the scrapping of SARS, stating that the call would be to encourage criminals to have freedom to operate in the state, the PDP which later stormed Police Headquarters demanded that SARS must be removed from the state.
Hundreds of supporters of the APC in the morning had matched from Polo Club in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area with placards bearing, ‘We say No to End SARS, ‘We need SARS to End Robbery, Killings in Rivers, ‘End to SARS is to Increase Beheading’ and others, to the State Police Headquarters in Port Harcourt City LGA, requesting the deployment of more SARS personnel to sustain the tamed killings in the state.
APC during the Pro-SARS reform rally, alleged that the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike was sponsoring the ‘End SARS’ campaign, adding that he was a direct beneficiary of criminality in the state.
Speaking, one of the leaders of the protest, a chieftain of the party in the state, Prince Tonye Princewill, accused the governor of the state of backing the call for the sacking of SARS and removal of Mr Akin Fakorede as the commander because the security outfit refused to compromise their integrity.
Princewill said: “Wike had a former CSO who worked for him, then he did not call for the scrapping of SARS. He (Wike) wants SARS out because they are not working for him. We are here today to support the reformation of the body as directed by the Inspector General of Police.
“But SARS must not be scrapped. We know that there is always issues of bad eggs amongst the good ones, so the police should always investigate every complain, but SARS must stay.”
Also, another chieftains of the party, who was a governorship aspirant in the People Democratic Party, PDP, Dumu Lulu-Briggs, commended the IGP for his efforts towards repositioning the police force, adding that there is a decrease in reports of kidnappings and beheadings in the state.
Lulu-Briggs, who commended the police force for maintaining professionalism said: “We have seen decrease in criminal activities in the state because of the works you (Police and SARS) are doing. Before now 7p.m. people have retired back to their homes because of criminals.
“Today the tide has been stemmed.Those who are calling for SARS to be removed are those behind the criminal activities. The people of Rivers State are behind you.”
How 400 of our members were killed, Ikanya
Meanwhile, the Chairman of APC in the state, Chief Davies Ikanya, has regretted that over 400 of its supporters were gunned down within one year in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, by hoodlums believed to be political thugs.
Ikanya, who spoke while handing over the solidarity letter to the IG of Police through the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Ahmed Zaki, explained that over 30 persons were killed on days during the 2015 general elections in the state, stating that if SARS is removed that killings would resume in the state.
“We are concerned about the call to remove SARS because we lost over 400 of our supporters during the 2015 elections. They are calling for removal of SARS because they want to resume killing our members again. Please don’t allow them to buy you. Reinforce because they are getting ready,” Ikanya said.
He further alleged that the Governor Wike has moved to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of the state police command, calling on the Federal Government and International community to prevail on the governor to to sack the police.
SARS must leave Rivers, PDP insists
However, the Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, who lead the protest maintained that the outfit of the police must leave the state, adding that their activities are affecting the state negatively
Nwanosike said: “We don’t understand the activities of SARS in the state. They are here destroying the security of the state and killing people.
“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police to listen to our cry and remove SARS from the State. We are tired of loosing our people to the illegal activities of SARS. People are leaving the state because of fear of SARS. Our position is that SARS must be scrapped.”
Meantime, CP Zaki, while receiving the solidarity letter, thank the group for the confidence reposed on the police and its outfits, adding it would not compromise in its constitutional role of protection of lives and property.
He noted that SARS has been on top of the security situation in the state and maintaining professionalism, adding that the outfit arrested 1000 criminal suspects within a year and are already prosecuting 500 cases in court.
Source: Vanguard News