The early Thursday morning siege to the home of the immediate past managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) , Joi Nunieh, may on itself become another subject of controversy requiring presidential or parliamentary probe.
This is because the Rivers State Police Command headed by Joseph Makun has stepped out to claim the operation was legitimate and that it received the command’s blessing.
“The attention of the Rivers State Police Command has been drawn to an online publication where it was erroneously reported that ‘the MOPOL presence at the residence of Joi Nunieh was not the directive of the Command’,” the Rivers State Police Command said in a statement.
This is an apparent contradiction of the position of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, who said on Thursday when he went to rescue Nunieh that the commissioner denied knowledge of the 50-man team of policemen. Wike had demanded explanation from the Inspector General of Police to ascertain who sent the operatives that had told the governor they came from the IG Special Unit.
Now, 24 hours later, the state police command in the state has officially said it knew about the operation.
The statement, signed by a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Nnamdi Omoni, the Police Public Relations Officer, said: “Ordinarily, such a phantom report should have been ignored but due to the potential danger inherent in keeping silent, the Command is minded to react and state the true position as follows:
“That the Command is not oblivious of the fact that social media is a loose canon, where all manner of things are thrown into;
“That the Command has maintained steady and harmonious working relationship with the newspaper that reported it; being one of the media houses that has been consistent in reporting our stories;
“That the officers, who were at the residence of the former Ag. MD Joi Nunieh, were from the IGP Monitoring Team in Abuja and were here (in PH) on official assignment;
“That before they proceeded to her residence, they observed due protocols and requisite standard operating procedures including going through the processes of arriving themselves at the headquarters with their ‘Investigation Activities’ duly signed and approved by the Commissioner of Police;
“That they went to her residence with mobile policemen, suggesting of course that they were there on official duty and not illegal duty as speculated;
“That, the reference indicating that the officers were there without the directive of the CP nor the IGP is preposterous and most unfortunate., hence should be discountenanced and disregarded;
“That the Command under the watch of CP Mukan is poised to deliver quality Policing services that will endure and stand the test of time. The Command will continue to remain firm, focused and will not be distracted by any consideration.”
This may kick up another round of controversy in an already festering scandal involving the NDDC, the Minister of Niger Delta, and the former MD.
More sources now say the Command is asking the governor to hand over Nunieh for investigations to continue. The governor had argued on Thursday that if the police wanted Nunieh, there would have been warrant of arrest stating her offence and that she should have been ‘invited’ to appear before the police command. He said he would not obstruct the wheel of justice or investigation, but that the invasion of Nunieh’s residence by 4am on Thursday smelt of hidden agenda.