Juliana Francis

The Rivers State Police Command has explained in great detail, why policemen from the command had to arrest three lawyers and other people handling the All Progressives Congress (APC) election petition.

Speaking for the command, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Grace Iringe-Koko, said it was all a mix-up.

This was also as she stated that it was important for the Police to inform the Public of what really happened.

She explained that on the 31st of March 2023, at about 11: 20 am, information was received that some lodgers occupying three rooms in a popular hotel, were seen carrying packages in and out of the rooms, and printing what seems like INEC documents, including results.

A video recording of the activities in one of the rooms was forwarded by the informant to the Police Commissioner.

The information neither disclosed the identity of the lodgers nor who they were working for.

She said: “As a responsible law enforcement agency, the Police needed to act on the intelligence. Thus, based on the report, the Police approached the court to obtain a search warrant.

“The warrant was dutifully executed on 1st of April 2023, at about 7: 02am. In the course of the search, eight persons were arrested, and several documents, laptops and printers were recovered. The arrested persons and exhibits were taken to the Surveillance Centre and later transferred to the State CID.

“An Assistant Commissioner of Police was tasked to lead the investigation team. It was in the process of profiling them that it was revealed that three of the arrested persons were lawyers. The APC State Chairman and the party’s Gubernatorial candidate in the last election showed up at the station to inform the Police that the lawyers were hired by the party to prepare their papers for filling at the election tribunal. Subsequently, the NBA President and General Secretary called the Commissioner of Police, who assured them that the lawyers would be released when they had finished making their statements. Accordingly, the lawyers were promptly released on self-recognizance, while the other five persons were released to a reliable surety.

“Meanwhile, since the investigating team lacked the technical competence to establish the veracity of the suspected printed fake INEC documents, the State REC was requested to send the Commission’s ICT personnel to inspect and identify the documents. The Police Command wishes to assure that once that is done, the most appropriate and professional thing will be done.

“The Command enjoins members of the public to continue to furnish the Police with information and report every suspicious movement around them; as the  effectiveness of Community Policing is predicated on collaboration and information sharing.”

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