Rivers Rerun: Police panel recover N111 million from INEC officials

Chidi Samuel

The Chairman of the panel constituted by the Nigeria Police Force to investigate the electoral and other offences perpetrated during the December 10 Rivers Parliamentary re-run election,Mr Damian Okoro,Tuesday disclosed that it recovered N111 million from 23 INEC officials.

Mr Okoro stated this while presenting the team’s report to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in Abuja.

According to the panel, three senior electoral officers collected N20 million each out of the N360 million given to them by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers, while the remaining officers received N15 million each.

“By this investigation, this panel has diligently unravelled what went wrong with the re-run election in Rivers, the details of which are contained in the report.

“We discovered that failure of leadership and followership rather than law enforcement was responsible for the political upheaval in the state,” he said.

“Apart from their utterances, politicians in their desperation for power, also armed thugs who unleashed terror on their opponents,” he said.

Responding after the presentation of the report, the inspector-general of police, said that a report and recommendation would be forwarded to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for his advice.

“We are going to take appropriate action in conjunction with other security agencies to put an end to this problem”.

“We will be failing in this country if we allow this to continue,” he said

The IG said that the money recovered would be paid into government coffers.

But in a reaction, the Rivers State Government dismissed the panel’s reports, describing the allegations as “shameful, defamatory and reckless in the extreme”.

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Tam- George, The government said,  “Never in the annals of infamy have we seen a vital state security institution descend to the lowest depths of blackmail and criminality, as the Nigeria Police Force has done in this case.”

“A month ago, we alerted the world to the dark, Orwellian plot by the Nigeria Police to implicate governor Wike in a phoney bribe scandal.

“Now, the Police appears to be acting with shocking predictability, by making wild and completely groundless allegations against Wike.”

He challenged the police to show proof that Wike financially induced INEC officials.