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Thursday, May 23, 2019


Richard Peters

The story of the arrest and torture of one Anthony Ejike Nwakwo, whom the Police alleged to have been caught with recalibrated card readers aimed at influencing the ongoing case at the election tribunal, is one of the very many efforts of the APC and Police to drag the image of Akwa Ibom INEC and her staff to the mud. 

The swift move by the Police to act based on emotions and sentiments, without due investigation makes one wonder why the force has sacrificed professionalism on the altar of partisanship.

First, it must be noted that the case is not that of unlawful possession of card readers as alleged by the Police. In fact, it's laughable. Can a police man on duty be arrested for unlawful possession of gun? Mr Nwankwo who is a staff of INEC, the ICT unit to be precise, did not have the 4 card readers in his possession unlawfully. When he told the police that he was a staff of INEC, the first port of call by the police would have been to call INEC office or take him there for confirmation. 

If I should clearly understand INEC's response, it is now clear that Mr Ejike was in lawful possession of the card readers.

Therefore, from INEC's response, they have revealed that Mr. Ejike was hospitalized and even as I write, the young man is still in the hospital.

Again, the INEC staff was not arrested at 2AM as alleged by the Police. He was arrested by 3PM while on his way to pick his children from school with a brief movement he had. 

Ideally, the police could have carried out investigation after seeing  Mr Nwankwo with the empty card readers, which INEC confirmed to used for training of ad-hoc staff before the elections, and didn't have any data therein.

It would have been the duty of the police to reach out to appropriate authority to find out how true the story is. But in their modest attempt to do the bidding of the already frustrated APC, they started snapping the INEC staff and sent to APC media hirelings to circulate on the social media. This is just too low for the Police force. Not only was Mr Nwankwo's photo circulated on the social media, he was also paraded as a common criminal, his reputation damaged and family thrown into tears. This is the same man that had been in hospital for a month now, and was still recuperating when the police added their pains. How will the police compensate for the damage and reputation of the innocent man that has been tampered with through this false alarm? 

I am still wondering why the police always subject  themselves to be used as tools in the hands of desperate politicians to perfect their selfish ambitions. The humiliation meted on Nwankwo by officers of the Police Anti-Robbery Squad Unit, Ikot Akpan Abia,  headed by Idorenyin Akpabio, and the forceful extortion of the sum of 100,000 Naira from Mr Nwankwo's wife is to say the least, the highest display of unprofessionalism by the Police. And if the possession of card reader is a crime, is extortion of money by the police a punishment for it? 
A Man who has not been able to pay for his hospital bills has been forced to pay police 100.000, so sad and condemnable.

It is high time the Inspector General of Police paid attention to what is happening in Akwa Ibom. The police authority should not feign ignorance about what has been happening in the state. 

The police should be neutral, working for all parties, especially in standing for justice and protecting the lives and property of citizens. 

In the just concluded general elections in Akwa Ibom State, INEC had tried consistently to be neutral, for the sake of fairness and equality. The body under the leadership of Mike Igini has resisted every attempt to sabotage the electoral process. Mike Igini, the Akwa Ibom Resident Electoral Commissioner had stood his ground to resist every form of injustice and malpractice, and this is where the anger of the APC stems from. The APC didn't have a filled day because it wasn't business as usual, and this gave birth to their latest attempt to drag the image of INEC to mud. 

For months now, we have observed the body language of the police, even before the elections. On the election days, cases where security forces assisted APC candidates to cart away ballot boxes and attack innocent citizens abound. But is this not too low for a force which was once the pride of the people? 

INEC and her staff should be left alone. Elections have come and gone, and so should this partisanship displayed by the force. There are many weighty issues in the country to contend with. 

One thing is sure, many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord God will deliver them from all. INEC under Mr Igini had been attacked consistently from all angles, but they always come out strong. 

The  statement of INEC has shown clearly that the police is acting in line with the directives of Akwa Ibom APC, otherwise who determine illegally possession of card reader, when the INEC staff introduced himself as ICT unit.

What steps is the commissioner of police taking?
Is he aware of this whole issue? Or is he even part of this whole issue?
The image of the Nigerian police force has now been bartered by this unprofessional way of handling issues.

The Police and APC should as a matter of necessity apologize to INEC and Mr Anthony Nwankwo, whose image they attempted to destroy. They should enthrone professionalism over partisanship, and win back the trust of the people. 

Their strength and focus should be channeled towards fighting insecurity that has bedevilled the society, and not perceived political opponents. 

The Akwa Ibom APC has been shown the way out, and no amount of blackmail on INEC, its staff and the PDP will change anything. The victory of the PDP in the just concluded general elections in Akwa Ibom has been sealed, and nothing can change it. 

They should have by now perfected their efforts in living with the fate of losing in an election they didn't even prepare for. Rather than making unnecessary political tantrums aimed at distracting the Governor, those who lost the election should engage in a more meaningful pursuit. 

Power belongs to Only God, and He gives to whoever He wishes to give it to. Let all of us stand for peace and justice for the collective progress of our dear Akwa Abasi Ibom State.

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