A group of the civil society members in Delta state have passed a confidence vote on the Delta state commissioner of police, Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa. The confidence vote was passed on Tuesday during a press conference held in Asaba, the Delta state capital.
The group comprises Victor Ojei, Public relations officer of civil society group in Delta; Kelly Efemena Umukoro, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) youthwing president and member of the Delta state community policing committee; Victor Chima, publicity secretary of Civil Rights Council and Tega Shalokpe, national president of Foundation for Rights Advocate.
In the press conference, the group said the media chat was called to respond to the issues raised by Prince Kehinde Taiga, vice president of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) against the Delta state commissioner of police, Hafiz Inuwa, in a recent publication.
Victor Ojei, who is also of the Young Nigerian Rights, gave glowing tribute to the police commissioner, saying he has done excellently well since he came to Delta as commissioner of police within the last one year. He said the commissioner has always played active role in fighting criminal elements and extortion in the state.
He said Prince Taiga has no right to speak against the Delta state police commissioner. He said if there is any problem it should be appropriately handled, adding that the allegation against the police commissioner of not extortion in the divisions is false and baseless.
He said: “As human rights activists, we should always speak the truth. We should stop seeing police as enemies. We cannot function in the society without the police. Not all policemen are bad, though some are bad. So, we should partner with policemen for a better society.”
He said in most of the war against extortion in the state, senior police officers have been involved in assisting them as rights activists in carrying out their jobs. He said they cannot carry out their jobs, as activists, effectively without partnering with the police. He noted that when there are cases to handle, it is policemen that will go with the activists to effect the arrest.
On his part, Efemena Umukoro condemned the outburst of Taiga against the police commissioner. He said activists should checkmate the excesses of people in society and not to destroy the society, saying: “we should not hate police but we should work with them for a better society.”
Umukoro said that police brutality and extortion have reduced in Delta state, insisting that activism is not to witch hunt people but to help society to be better. He said Taiga does not have the capacity to call for protest since has been allegedly suspended from office as vice president of CDHR.
He told journalists that 99 percent of money the human rights community recovers from extortions are carried out under the assistance of senior police officers. He said: “When we hear of extortion somewhere we call the commissioner of police, SIB and they assist us to recover the money. We do not have power to recover money on our own.”
On the issue of Taiga asking police commissioner to account for security votes so far received, Umukoro said commissioner of police does not receive security vote but it is the governor that receives security votes from the federal government.
He said activists are not to hate the police but to checkmate the system and right the wrongs. He added that for them in the activists community, they have passed a vote of confidence on the commissioner of police in Delta state.
Chima Victor, on the other hand, said human rights community is working in tandem with the police. He called for synergy that will bring about effective policing, insisting that activism is not all about confronting powers but it is about proffering solutions to issues.
According to him, since the posting of CP Inuwa to Delta, he has carefully observed him and seen significant improvement in the services of the police. According tohim, Inuwa has always ensured that whatever problem comes to his table, he handles it with every care and concern it demands.
But Taiga, vice president of the CDHR, dismissed claims made against him by the trio. Taiga told this medium on phone that he is not in any way accusing the police commissioner of fraud but his challenge is that junior officers who cannot confront the commissioner are complaining to him that there is no financial support from the state command, hence the resort to extortion to carry out certain functions in their divisions.
Specifically, he said a particular divisional police officer in the state told him that the governor had been giving a particular amount to the divisions, safer highways, dragon and eagle net but now the money is not forth coming again. He also said that private firms, individuals, hotels, politicians, hotels, pastors, filling stations, businessmen who employ police protection pay to the police headquarters, hence there should be no cause for police to complain that there is no money to run their affairs.
On his alleged suspension from the CDHR for one year, he told Emerald News that the suspension has been cancelled by other members of the national executive council. Five members of the national executive council, including the general secretary, beside the president, Osagie Obayuwana, who personally signed the purported suspension letter, dissociated themselves from the suspension.
Available details revealed that the purported suspension of Taiga was singlehandedly executed by the national president of CDHR. In the alleged suspension he was accused of misconduct by the president. The misconduct, according to the suspension letter, was when he was Delta state chairman.
However, five national executive members of the foremost human rights group in the persons of general secretary, James Chikwendu; assistant secretary,Kabir Ibrahim; Legal Adviser, Barrister (Mrs.) Violet Ekumankama; publicity secretary, Gerald Katchy and internal auditor, Ayuba Musa, dissociated themselves from being part of the action of the president. This action has therefore quashed the suspension of Taiga as national vice president.
He said members of the Board of Trustees of CDHR, whose chairman is Femi Falana, constituted a two-man committee with Professor Lucky Akaruese and Gbenga Awosode Esq to investigate all situations with a view to advising the board on the next line of action. He said all petitions are being looked into and until the report of the two-man-committee is submitted, the status quo remains. Arising from the above, he said the suspension is not holding for now.