…Afenifere, Ohanaeze, middle belt, Northern elders condemn raid
The Abuja residence of the Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark was raided Tuesday by the police.
The Police men, numbering six, it was learnt came from the office of the Inspector- General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris.
They were from the IGP’s ‘Special Tactical Force’ STF, Guzape, Abuja, which reports only to the Inspector- General of Police.
The 91-old former federal commissioner was at home when the police came calling at about 12.30, in a 18- Seater Hiace Bus and a four Runner Car, with registration number EU 979 ABC.
Clark, No 43, Haile Selassie Street, Asokoro residence was turned inside out as the police searched for about two hours without finding anything incriminating.
The Police men were led by Kolo Yusuf, said that they were with a Search warrant that was obtained from the court.
Speaking after the incident, Chief Clark said, “I was in the house, in my bedroom when my boys came to inform me that there were police men downstairs and in the parlour, I said what do they want, they said they came from Inspector- General of Police, IGP Tactical Squad with a warrant and with their office 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 most important part of it, my secretary, Miss Dorothy Koko was in the bank, they said they must see that room and her bedroom and the office. So she had to come from the bank to open those rooms for them to search. Then after they came up, searched my wife’s room, my children’s room, my other parlor upstairs and everywhere, this is what happened.”
On whether the Police at the end of the day discovered arms and Ammunition, Chief Clark said, “They didn’t find anything; they made a statement that they’ve come here with a warrant to search the house for ammunition, but they have searched the house they found nothing and they themselves took away nothing. Three of my people signed it and three of them signed it that’s what happened.”
When asked if the search could be related to last week’s meeting of Elders and Leaders of various socio- cultural groups in the country, Chief Clark said, “I believe because of the various meetings we’ve been holding about the state of the nation, otherwise why would they expect, am not in Delta where I come from, that militants have come to keep ammunition in my house, but 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 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 to stop these boys and I led about 100 people including leaders, traditional rulers, everybody.
“Since then, there have been peace in the Niger Delta, oil production has increased, is that why I should be treated like this, perhaps this is the time I should mention, it has been the policy of the federal government, the presidency to congratulate Nigerians who have attained certain age, I attained the age of 91 on the 25th of May this year.
“What I said earlier on, was that I am a man of peace, I believe in peaceful coexistence in this country, I have been doing everything possible to see that Nigeria remains one that’s why we’ve been forming various organisations to keep Nigeria together. I started PANDEF on the 19th of August 2016 to advice the youths who were vandalizing pipelines, to stop them from vandalizing pipelines.
“Oil production in Nigeria which had gone down low to about 900 barrels per day has increased to over 2 million, everybody knows that. I have led meetings with Mr. President, with our people, I led a total number of 100 traditional rulers, politicians, past governors to meet with the President on the 1st of November 2016, 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 to say where we are going, 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. I do not think with his greatest respect and having honored my late friend, Alhaji Maitama Sule, I do not think one police man whether IG would have gone to kano to search his house, Why this type of discrimination, it is very unfair.”
“I will never, I said it is my top slogan that when you are 70 and above, you are at the Lounge, waiting for your boarding Pass, I would say 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 anything that will affect the unity of this country, peace, peaceful existence of this country I will speak against it.
The elder statesman has not ruled out taking a legal action against the government and the police as he noted that, “My lawyers will look into that.”
The Policemen on arrival demanded to see the Secretary to Chief Clark, Dorothy Koko who had gone to the bank as that the time they came, even as they requested that they must see her and at this time, a call was made to her to come back to the office which she did immediately.
According to the source, when Dorothy Koko arrived, the policemen asked her to open her office, she did, they searched, thereafter went to her bedroom and toilet to search for everything, even as the rooms were turned upside down.
The source said further that soon after they finished with Dorothy Koko, the Police men now climbed up to Chief Clark’s bed room where they also carried out a search in his room, the toilet, his wife’s room, the Children’s room, al, the parlours, among other places.
At the end of the two hour exercise of putting the residence of Clark into such traumatic and horrifying situation, the Police men left without finding anything incriminating against the Elder Statesman.
Three Police men were said to have signed a legal document indicating that neither arm nor ammunition was found in the house of Chief Clark or anything incriminating, while three persons from the side of Clark also signed the document before they took it to the office.
Those who signed on behalf of Chief Clark were Ambassador Godknows Igali; Secretary General of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Dr. Alfred Mulade and Mr. Mac Emakpore.
Reaction has continued to trail the invasion as Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum expresses shock over the incident. The Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Middle Belt Forum and Northern Elders forum strongly condemned the police.
In a joint statement by the groups, the police action was described as shameful.
The statement was signed by Yinka Odumakin, Prof Chigozie Ogbu, Dr Isuwa Dogo and Dr Junaid Mohammed.
The statement reads: “The Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum is flabbergasted by the gestapo-like raid on the Abuja home of 91-year -old elder-statesman and Leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum(PANDEF) ,Chief EK Clark by men of the Nigerian Police on the spurious allegation that there were “arms and ammunition” stockpiled in the house.
“At the end of the shameful invasion of the home of the former Minister and Senator in the worst signal of Nigeria becoming a police state, the police could not find more than a kitchen knife regularly used to slice tomato and onion.
“We view the provocative search as not arising from any intelligence report but a sheer act of intimidation on a home that has served as meeting point for patriots across Nigeria who are engaged in peaceful consultations to save Nigeria from the edge of the precipice.
The raid is a sad reminder of the era of full blown dictatorship in 1984 when the home of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was ransacked in Ikenne by solders and officials of the dreaded NSO whose conduct has only been rivaled by the DSS under Daura before he was removed when the President was on vacation abroad.
“The traumatization of Pa Clark at 91 is yet another proof that mad power has taken over our polity and its desperation now walking on four with all boundaries of decency collapsed for raw display of beastly tendencies.
The Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum demands an immediate apology to Chief Clark by the Nigerian Police whose leadership at the moment has shown serial unprofessionalism and dark age policing.
“We want to sound it loud and clear to the administration that if the object of this intimidation is to send fear signals to patriots who are demanding better leadership for our country ,it has backfired .We all counted the cost before we chose to embark on standing up for the country
Our battle cry remains : no retreat, no surrender !”