Governor Nyesom Wike has at least 221 police personnel in his security detail, including his aide de camp and chief security officer, the police said on Sunday.
The police released the details when they pushed back against claims by the governor that the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State had been directed to kill him.
“This police commissioner has an agenda…he has been given an assignment to kill me. No problem. No man dies two times,” Mr. Wike said in an interview with The Punch on Sunday.
The police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said in a statement on Sunday that Mr. Wike’s claims were “un-gubernatorial, un-executive, malicious and capable of misleading and causing disaffection between the Nigeria Police Force and the good people of Rivers State.”
Mr. Moshood, a chief superintendent of police, said the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, places a premium on the security of lives and property in Rivers State, including those of Mr. Wike.
To this end, the police provided Mr. Wike with 221 of their personnel as protection for the governor alone he said.
The squadron “is more than the strength of some police area command formations in some states of Nigeria,” Mr. Moshood said.
He gave a breakdown of Mr. Wike’s police detachment as follows:
i. 1 ADC (SPO)
ii. 1 CSO (SPO)
iii. 1 Unit Commander (Special Protection Unit) SPO
iv. 1 Unit Commander (Counter Terrorism Unit) SPO
v. 1 Escort Commander (SPO)
vi. 1 Camp Commander (SPO)
vii. 1 Admin officer (SPO) to administer the police personnel
viii. Fifty-Four (54) Inspectors of Police
ix. One Hundred and Thirty-Six (136) police sergeants
x. Twenty Four (24) police corporals.
The police said the statement by the governor that the state has had nine commissioners of police within the last two years was false.
“Three (3) Commissioners of Police have served in Rivers State since the inception of the administration of the Inspector General of Police.
“The first Commissioner of Police was redeployed to a higher duty post when he was promoted to the rank of a Deputy Inspector General of Police, while the second died after a brief illness on admission at an Indian Hospital.
“The third is the current Commissioner of Police in Rivers State,” Mr. Moshood said.
Officials in Rivers State repeated but could not substantiate Mr. Wike’s allegations when PREMIUM TIMES informed them of police’s rebuttal Sunday afternoon.
Austin Tam-George, Rivers State Commissioner for Information, told PREMIUM TIMES nine commissioners had been posted to the state within the last two years, but provided no evidence to support this assertion.
“I am not in a position to provide names of the nine commissioners now,” Mr. Tam-George said. “This is because they change them so frequently that sometimes before we know their names, they’re already gone.”
He, however, said Mr. Wike spoke in the context of several alleged assassination attempts on his life within the last one year.
“Governor Wike’s statement is supported by the fact that he has survived five assassination attempts in 11 months,” Mr. Tam-George said.
The commissioner said his principal’s back and forth with the police has a political undertone.
“The APC government declared war on the government and people of Rivers State, soon after the party lost the governorship litigation at the Supreme Court in 2016,” Mr. Wike said.
A spokesperson for Rivers State chapter of the APC could not be reached for comments Sunday afternoon.
But the police urged Nigerians to disregard the allegations from the Rivers State Government, adding that the police will not be deterred in their responsibilities to Nigerians.
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