Details have emerged into how armed operatives of the Nigeria Police, yesterday, raided the Abuja residence of foremost South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, over allegations of stockpiling arms and ammunition in his home for Niger Delta militants.
But in a swift reaction, the police in a statement issued by Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, neither gave the order nor aware of the raid, and has ordered the arrest and detention of the policemen involved.
While claiming that the said raid was not authorised by the IGP, the Force Headquarters said investigation into the incident had been ordered, adding that the “informant’ had also been taken in.
“The IG did not authorize the search and has therefore sent a delegation of senior police officers led by DIG Joshak along with some Commissioners of Police who visited Chief Edwin Clark and apologized on behalf of the Nigeria Police Force and the IGP for the misconduct of the said police personnel and the attendant embarrassment the search has caused to the elder statesman and his family,” the FPRO said.
The policemen who were said to have arrived at the Asokoro residence of Clark at 1.30pm and ransacked the entire building including the security post, left the premises by 2.30pm.
The policemen, numbering six, were said to have been deployed from the ‘Special Tactical Force’, STF, based in Guzape, a squad that reports directly to the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
An eyewitness told New Telegraph that the policemen, who were led by one Kolo Yusuf, came in a Forerunner SUV, with registration number EU 979 ABC and an 18-Seater Toyota Hiace bus.
They brandished a search warrant, which they claimed was obtained from a court and said they were in search of arms and ammunition allegedly hidden at the residence of the elder statesman.
On arrival, the policemen asked to see Dorothy Koko, Chief Clark’s personal secretary, but she was not immediately available.
However, they laid siege to the premises until she returned from an official errand and asked her to open her office for a search.
The operatives searched the private office and thereafter did same to all the bedrooms, kitchen and even toilets at the basement of the duplex.
They later made their way upstairs to Chief Clark’s bedroom, his wife’s bedroom and the children’s room where they also carried out a thorough search.
At the end of the siege, the policemen, who could not find any incriminating item, documented their findings and signed while three aides to Clark also signed on his behalf.
Narrating his ordeal to newsmen after the incident, Clark described the allegation that he was stockpiling arms and ammunition in his home as ridiculous.
The 91-year-old former Minister of Information and Culture said that at his age, it was unthinkable he would be involved in such an act.
His words: “I was in my bedroom when my boys came to inform me that there were policemen downstairs. I asked what do they want? They said they came from Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tactical Squad in Guzape. So I said what do you want? They said I was selling weapons in my house, so that’s why they went to court to obtain a search warrant and they showed me the search warrant. I said, go ahead.
“So they went down, searched everywhere. My secretary, Miss Dorothy Koko, was in the bank at the time, but they said they must search the office and some rooms. So she had to return from the bank to open those rooms for them to search. Then they came up, searched my wife’s room, my children’s room, my other parlour upstairs and everywhere,” he said.
Clark stated that the incident may not be unconnected with his recent criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for bad governance and abuse of the human rights of Nigerians.
“I believe because of the various meetings we’ve been holding about the state of the nation, otherwise why would they expect, (I am not in Delta where I come from) that militants will come to keep ammunition in my house? No sensible man will think that a 92-year-old man in Abuja, will be keeping ammunition in his house to fight the government; overthrow the government. This is ridiculous, shameful.
“I am not saying that people don’t keep arms, but I am not that kind of person. I speak my mind on issues affecting this country; I believe in advocacy, I believe in peace. When our boys, calling themselves Avengers and so on, vandalized pipelines, I formed an organization known as Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).
“I started PANDEF on the 19th of August 2016 to advice the youth who were vandalizing pipelines, to stop them from vandalizing pipelines.
“Oil production in Nigeria, which had gone down low, has increased to over two million, everybody knows that. I have led meetings with Mr. President, with our people, I led a 100 traditional rulers, politicians, past governors to meet with the President on November 1, 2016.
“Since then, there have been peace in the Niger Delta; oil production has increased. Is that why I should be treated like this?
“I was looking for peace, but nobody can stop me from speaking my mind or associating with people to see that there is good governance in this country.
“It is dangerous that we are moving into a police state. What worries me is that those who are surrounding Mr. President, I do not think they wish him well with the way they are going. President Buhari is the President of the whole Nigeria, not one part of this country.
“When you are 70 and above, you are at the Lounge, waiting for your boarding pass. I have gotten my boarding pass, but God has delayed it. Nobody can do me anything. I will speak my mind on anything that is unjust in this country, against injustice, against oppression, discrimination, religious bigotry, ethnicity. I will speak against anything that will affect the unity of this country, peace, peaceful existence of this country,” he said.
Part of the Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood’s statement read, “The Force wishes to categorically state that the IGP is not aware and did not order the raid of the residence of the elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.
“Consequently, the IGP has directed the detention and investigation of the four police personnel and the informant involved.”
While promising to make the outcome of the investigation public, the police added that: “Notwithstanding the facts that on daily basis the Nigeria Police Force across the country receives information from members of the public which were promptly used to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities, the Force will not condone misconduct by any of its personnel that can run contrary to the rule of law.”