Sunday, 8 February 2015

Police Chief Drama At Lekki Toll Plaza!

Lagos residents may have to brace up for more surprises from the controversial Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of police, Mbu Joseph Mbu who heads the zone 2 command headquarters of the force. He has threatened it will be fire for fire in the coming elections.

“Nobody, no matter the position, will be above the law, I will shame critics as we are not afraid of any person, I repeat, anybody who attacks my men violently, we will respond violently as we are battle ready”, Mbu thundered at a lecture he held for senior police officers at the Lagos police command headquarters, Ikeja on Wednesday.

The warning from Mbu, who came into limelight as a Commissioner of police in Rivers Statewith his frequent clashes with the state governor, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is coming on the heels of his face-off with the Lekki Concession Company, operators of the Lekki toll gates last week.

The police chief had last week ordered the detention of some LCC officials and policemen attached to the company after his convoy of six vehicles was asked to pay toll fees.

However, addressing senior officers of the Lagos command on Wednesday, Mbu attempted to paint the picture of a gentleman who cannot hurt a fly. According to him: “You can see for yourself that I am a simple man. Very friendly to be around with, and humble. Anyone who is afraid of me must be a lawbreaker. I can barely hurt a fly. Anyone who had worked with me will understand that I hate indiscipline and will not tolerate a dirty looking policeman.

“For now I do not have another job and will only do the right thing to protect my job. All I need is police officers to know the power they carry and utilize it properly according to the constitution.”

For him, the 2015 general elections provide an opportunity for him to shame his critics. “We will do our best. This is not the first time that I have monitored elections and so far, it has been peaceful in those areas and this will not be an exception.

“We have enough vehicles, manpower from police units such as Mobile Police Force, Special Protection Unit, Rapid Response Squad and we can even seek the assistance of the Army”, he added.

He charged the senior police officers, including the rank and file, to keep to the ethics of the profession and desist from any act of corruption. “I want to warn policemen against selling their conscience because of money or personal interest. Policemen should be prepared to do the job and build confidence rather than pursuing money, taking police job like a personal business”, he said.

Mbu noted that his men should be prepared to work hard for the success of the coming polls and be ready to either be promoted, demoted or shown the way out of the police force if found in any act of dereliction of duty.

The new AIG said policemen should not allow themselves to be used or intimidated by any politician or political party, saying that he would be ready to defend them when they are on the right path.

He advised policemen who would be deployed to polling centres to resist any form of violence, ensure that they take pictures or video record of perpetrators of violence and always update their bosses with situation reports.

He warned policemen against injustice and impartiality, adding that they have nothing to do with election results or rigging.

Meanwhile, calm has returned to the Lekki tow gate, after the ugly incident that led to the withdrawal of mobile policemen posted to guard the area and ensure compliance by Mbu Friday, last week.

Mbu’s convoy, consisting of six cars and an armoured personnel carrier, sought to transit through the Ikoyi-Lekki toll plaza on Lane 8.

On reaching the toll point, some of the police orderlies escorting the convoy allegedly ran up and informed the LCC official on duty and the mobile policemen standing by that the AIG was in the convoy.

The LCC official was said to have retorted: “Who is the AIG? He should follow procedure and pay the toll.”

Mbu, who was said to have overheard the remark, felt insulted by the effrontery of the LCC toll plaza staff. To make matters worse, the five mobile policemen attached to the plaza were also said to have engaged the orderlies escorting the convoy in an altercation. Their conduct was said to have enraged the AIG, who then ordered that they be arrested along with the LCC staff and detained at the Maroko police station. Mbu also ordered the withdrawal of all policemen attached to LCC.

As a result, the LCC management was said to have reached out to the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu 1, who allegedly facilitated the release of all the detainees. The monarch is a retired Assistant Inspector General, AIG, of police.

Mbu was, however, said to have refused to restore the security details attached to the company despite pleas from the Oba. Saturday Sun gathered that it took the intervention of a former IGP, Musiliu Smith to convince Mbu to restore the company’s security details.

Meanwhile, Saturday Sun learnt that while the face-off lasted, LCC was at the mercy of local vigilantes and policemen from Maroko division who patrolled the area.

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