An indeed controversial high ranking Nigeria police officer, Joseph Mbu, has ordered the arrest and detention of a journalist for describing him as “controversial” on a TV programme.
The journalist, Amaechi Anakwe, a reporter cum presenter for the African Independent Television, AIT, was detained Thursday morning after he reported at the Zone 7 police headquarters in Abuja, on the invitation of Mr. Mbu.
Mr. Mbu had demanded to see the journalist shortly after he described him as controversial on a TV programme on his station, Matters Arising.
Mr. Anakwe’s colleague told PREMIUM TIMES the police officer sent in the first call for the reporter last Friday.
It was turned down on technicalities after the media house complained the letter inviting Mr. Anakwe was addressed to the reporter in his personal capacity.
A subsequent invitation was served on the media house on Monday.
Mr. Anakwe and the Chief security Officer of the AIT were subsequently dispatched to see Mr. Mbu on Tuesday.
After a long wait for the police officer who was said to be in the presidential villa, both men were asked to report back the following day.
Mr. Anakwe was seized on their second visit.
“I think it has to do with the culture and level of impunity that Mbu has been allowed to exhibit right from his days as police commissioner in Rivers state to today,” Imoni Mac-Amarere, Executive Director, News and Current Affairs at AIT, said.
Spokesperson of the Zone 7 police command, which Mr. Mbu now heads, could not be reached for comments.
But the overall spokesperson for the Nigeria Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, told PREMIUM TIMES the issue has been “resolved”.
When asked if it is right for journalists to be arbitrarily detained by the police, he said: “I am saying we have resolved the issues. That’s all!”
Mr. Mbu, recently promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General, was a former commissioner of police in the Niger Delta state of Rivers.
He was pulled out of Rivers to head the Abuja police command – shorty before his promotion – after he had protracted face-off with that state’s governor who accused him of siding with the presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to undermine him.
Both Mr. Mbu and the Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, recently tore at each other publicly with the later accusing the the police officer of unpatriotic allegiance to the wife of the president, Patience Jonathan. That comment was in reaction to Mr. Mbu’s who described himself as a lion who tamed the governor, a leopard.
“I cannot understand why an individual like Mbu is allowed to remain in the police to continue to tarnish the image of the force and its officers. It’s unbelievable!” Mr. Amarere told PREMIUM TIMES when asked of the implications of Mr. Mbu’s detention of his colleague.