Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson has appealed to the leaders and people of the Niger Delta to accept the apology tendered by the Police authorities to Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, following the raid on his Abuja residence by policemen.
The governor commended the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, for the thoughtful act of tendering an apology to the 92-year-old elder statesman. A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said Dickson made the call while addressing a meeting of Ijaw youths in his Toru-Orua country home yesterday.
Niger Delta elders and the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) had on Thursday rejected the IGP’s apology, describing it as an “afterthought.”Addressing journalists after an emergency meeting called by the leaders of the organisation at the headquarters in Yenagoa, its president, Mr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi, alleged that the Police action by the police was a deliberate attempt to embarrass the Niger Delta people and the Police were only testing the waters.
But the governor, moved by the IGP apology, commended his move to send a high-powered delegation, led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Operations, Mr. Habitat Joshak, to convey their apologies to Clark.
Dickson, who had earlier called on the Police authorities to apologise to Clark, the Ijaw Nation and Nigerians in general over the action, said the leaders and people of the area should accept the apology, since the Police authorities had already punished those behind the harassment of the elder statesman.
He, however, urged the IGP to institute a mechanism to prevent the rampant harassment of innocent citizens by Police operatives on frivolous allegations, causing harassment and destruction of properties across the country, thereby denting the image of the Police and the government.
He said it had become necessary for the IGP to adopt measures to stop the undemocratic practice to prevent innocent citizens from traumatic harassment by state agents, stressing that the failure of the Police to discover arms and ammunition in the residences of those raided only showed the need for the IGP to take a second look at his internal mechanisms to prevent abuse.
He advised Ijaw youth leaders to be calm and await further steps that the IGP would take on the matter, while calling on the IGP to monitor the use of Police by politicians for missions other than the reason for which they are deployed.