The Nigeria Police Force has announced the put up of a panel of detectives to investigate various incidents that took place during the Rerun legislative elections in Rivers State, including telephone conversations obtained and released by SaharaReporters in which the state governor, Nyesom Wike, discussed bribes to electoral officials to rig the polls. In the phone conversations, the governor could also be heard threatening to kill officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who took cash from him if they did not meet his demands.
A statement released today by Don Awunah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and public relations officer at the police headquarters in Abuja, stated that IGP Idris decided to set up an investigative panel “in response to the statement credited to the INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmud, to the effect that there were seventy incidents that tended to derail the December 10, 2016 re-run elections in Rivers State.”
DCP Awunah disclosed that the panel, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police with vast experience in investigations, has 30 days to complete its investigation. He vowed that the panel’s findings would be made public.
According to Mr. Awunah, the panel of detectives and experts would “conduct a thorough investigation into the incidents mentioned by the INEC chairman with a view to unraveling those who directly or indirectly are responsible for such incidences and bring them to justice.”
The police spokesman added that the panel “is also mandated to conduct forensic analysis on the audio report released by Sahara Reporters purportedly to be the voice of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Chief (Barr.) Nyesom Wike (CON) pertaining to the concluded elections.”
The Inspector General urged INEC and the Rivers State government “to avail the investigative team with facts at their disposal and grant them the desired cooperation and assistance to achieve a comprehensive and conclusive investigation.” It also called on election observers, civil society groups, human rights watchers and other stakeholders to also provide any valuable information at their disposal.
The statement added, “The Nigeria Police Force is committed to enthroning the principles of democratic policing and [to ensure] that the IGP’s master plan on election security takes hold in Nigeria in accordance with international best practices and core value of Policing with integrity.”