Why we stopped ‘protesting urchins’ from extorting money from tankers’ drivers – Rivers Police

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CP Friday Eboka, Rivers State Commissioner of Police.

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*Says they were disrupting free flow of products in state

By ABIRHIRE THOMAS

The Rivers State  Police Command has explained why the state Commissioner of Police, CP Friday Eboka, stopped elements extorting money from petroleum trucks’ drivers in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

It said the CP took the action and stood by it because activities of the elements, their misleading protests notwithstanding, were disrupting smooth supply of petroleum products to the law abiding citizens who are either legitimate outlets owners or consumers in the state.

The Command’s Spokesperson, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, who confirmed this development in a statement obtained by Our Correspondent in Port Harcourt, said the ‘urchin’, stopped from distorting tankers’ drivers doing their legitimate business that the state may run smoothly but still went ahead to stage protest, would have been ignored but the need for Nigerians to be rightly guided against their misinformation.

“The Rivers State Police Command has been drawn to a protest by some disgruntled elements on 17/9/2022 along UTC junction to Government House, Port Harcourt, who alleged that the Commissioner of Police did not allow them to extort money from petroleum tankers’ drivers.

“The command would have ignored them, considering the fact that most people captured on camera on that day were hired urchins. However, the need to save the good people of Rivers State from being fed with wrong information has necessitated this response,” she said.

SP Iringe-Koko said “residents of Port Harcourt and its environs will easily recall that for about a week preceding the day of the protest, PTD-NUPENG embarked on a strike action as a result of which the people of Rivers State suffered untold hardship due to the resultant fuel scarcity.

“The Commissioner of Police, as a way of expressing his love for residents of the State, convened a meeting of all stakeholders on 16/9/2022.  At the end of the deliberation, which lasted over six hours, a communiqué was issued and NUPENG called off the strike action. Everyone in the state was of course happy.

“Surprisingly, as the PTD-NUPENG started loading, a group of disgruntled elements who perhaps were happy that there was scarcity in the town, blocked them from distributing petroleum product, insisting on collecting tolls from them.

“Irked that the agreement, which took hours to attain, was about to be scuttled, the Police moved in to allow the tanker drivers do their work. The next day, this group, who called themselves IPMAN, hired some urchins to disturb the peace of Port Harcourt,” SP Grace Iringe-Koko explained.

While calling on residents of the State to discountenance them, the state Commissioner of Police, according to her, has reassured members of the public that “whoever does anything to stop the smooth supply of petroleum products in this State will be brought to book.”

She added that, “The good people of the state cannot be subjected to hardship because of the pecuniary interest of a few individuals.”


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