The House of Representatives Wednesday mandated its Committees on Police Affairs, Human Rights and Justice to probe the extra-judicial killings leveled against security operatives and submit report in the next four weeks.
The House also in a separate motion unanimously resolved that the committees on Aviation and Transport should investigate the abandonment of Port Harcourt Airport project.
The first motion under matters of national importance sponsored by Rep Kingsley Chinda, PDP, Rivers and nine others was entitled: Urgent Need to Investigate Acts of Harassment, Torture, Extra-judicial killings, Unwholesome Practices By Operatives of The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) in Rivers.
Chinda in his submission argued that “Several complaints of acts of harassment, torture, extra-judicial killings and other unwholesome practices against innocent, unarmed civilians by operatives of the special anti-robbery squad (FSARS) in Rivers State has become the order of the day.
He explained that “victims of FSARS operations in Rivers State allege that FSARS operatives are usually armed with guns, axes, machetes and other dangerous weapons and employ various malevolent methods, including planting illicit drugs and other incriminating items and objects on unsuspecting victims; and also go about with Point of Sales (P.O.S) machines, with which they coerce unsuspecting victims to make money transfers in their favour.
“Recently, an incident went viral of a FSARS officer who was shot dead by men of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP’s) team after an exchange of gun fire in Port Harcourt.
“The official police signal with the title: “Police Wireless Message” and Ref. No: DTO: 121030/09/2017- INGENPOL-X-FHQ ABUJA TO- INGENPOL SEC ABUJA, noted that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP’s) special squad got a distress call on the kidnap of one Mr. Ifeanyi and immediately swung into action.
“According to the signal, the IGP team on arrival met three FSARS operatives robbing and a gun duel ensued. The FSARS operatives had taken the said Mr. Ifeanyi to Fidelity Bank ATM where they forced him to withdraw some amount of money for his bail or ransom.Till date, this information has not been controverted by the Police high command.
Citing another incident, Chinda said” very recently (on September 25, 2017), one Mr. Ajibade Ademisoye, a taxi driver who lived in Rumuakunde community in Emohua local Government Area, Rivers State was killed by men of the FSARS, and thereafter labeled as a cultist.”
The Rivers lawmaker said that “there are also several reported cases of harassment, torture, extra-judicial killings and other unwholesome practices by operatives of the FSARS in Port Harcourt and its environs, and some rescued victims of kidnaps have consistently pointed at FSARS operatives as being responsible for most of the kidnappings in Rivers State, particularly along the East West and Owerri-Port Harcourt express roads.
He observed that ” the provisions of S.14(2)(b) and also S. 34(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), 1999 (as amended) states that :
S.14(2)(b): “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
“S.34(1)(a): “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”.
In conclusion, Chinda said that “about a week ago, the Hon. Justice Adolphus Enebeli of a Port Harcourt High court awarded a cost of N50 million only against five FSARS operatives who are currently standing trial for the murder of Messrs. Michael Akor and Michael Igwe at Oyigbo, Rivers State in 2009.
He also recalled that on December 10, 2016 during State and National Assembly re-run elections held in Rivers State, Akin Fakorede, the commander of FSARS in Rivers State, together with some other FSARS operatives were seen/caught on camera openly harassing/manhandling INEC officials at the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt on December 12, 2017. However, nothing was done, in spite of several protests and demand for an investigation of the incident.
Chinda also noted that “the Inspector-General of Police (IG) has consistently failed, refused and/or neglected to investigate these grave indictment of the FSARS, while the negative testimonies continue unabated.
Without a debate the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara put it to a voice vote and ayes carried the day.
Also, the House Wednesday resolved to probe the monies released for the abandoned Port Harcourt International Airport by the Federal Government.
At the end, the House mandated the committees on Transport and Aviation to probe deeper into the root cause of the abandonment and monies released.
This was sequel to a motion under matters of national importance and promoted by Rep Kingsley Chinda, PDP, Rivers.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who presided, put it to a voice vote and ayes carried the day.