Inspector General of Police, Adamu.

Abasifreke Effiong and Uchenna Mark

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate redeployment of Rivers state Commissioner of Police, Dandaura Mustapha.

Mustapha was removed as CP of Rivers state few hours after 22 staff of Exxon Mobil were arrested in River state for violating executive order which restricts entry into the state.

Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike signed the Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Order about a month ago curtailing entry into the state as a response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Rivers state government has been strictly monitoring compliance with the restriction of movement following the outbreak of the virus in neighboring states including Akwa Ibom and Delta.

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Two weeks ago, security agencies enforcing the restriction of movement in Rivers state arrested two Carveton helicopter pilots and 10 passengers who landed in the state during the restriction period.

The arrest and detention of the pilots and their passengers sparked controversy between the federal government of Nigeria, associations of aviation workers in Nigeria and the Rivers state government.

IGP removes Rivers state CP after the arrest of 22 staff of Exxon Mobil Rivers state governor, Mr Nyesom Wike .

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, blamed security forces in Rivers state for the arrest of the pilots.

The arrest of the 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who entered into Rivers state from Akwa Ibom in violation of the restriction of movement in Rivers is said to be the reason the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adam, ordered the redeployment of the Rivers state CP, Dandaura Mustapha.

Mustapha’s redeployment was contained in a statement on Friday signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.

Joseph Gobum Mukan replaces Mustapha as the new Police Commissioner in Rivers State.

According to the statement, Mustapha now occupies a new office as the Commissioner of Police, Provost, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

Meanwhile, Rivers state governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, has said that the trial of the Exxon Mobil staff who violated the Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Order will be a test of legal jurisprudence in Nigeria.

Speaking at government house, Port Harcourt, Wike said federal authorities are working dangerously to compromise the health protection system of Rivers state and make the state vulnerable to coronavirus.

“Security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who came into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of the extant Executive Order restricting movement into the state. We do not know the coronavirus status of these individuals.

“Even though security agencies advised that they be allowed to go back to Akwa Ibom state, I insisted that the law must take its course. This is because nobody is above the law.

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“As a responsive government, we have quarantined them in line with the relevant health protocols and they will be charged to court.”

“Some people want the escalation of the virus in Rivers State. People were paid to canvass a negative narrative on Carveton Pilots.

“We are doing what we can within available resources to fight coronavirus. You can fly, but as you fly and land, don’t enter our territory. ”

“We will fight this matter legally. Exxon Mobil does not operate in Rivers state. That they have a point at the Onne seaport does not mean that they operate in Rivers State.”

“People in Abuja are not happy. They want Rivers State to be infected. They want coronavirus to escalate in Rivers state. They want to kill Rivers people and I will not allow it. I was elected to protect Rivers people. Rivers State is not a pariah state.”

Wike lauded the management of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) for obeying the established health protocol to check the spread of coronavirus.

He said the company consistently liaise with the state government in the movement of her staff on essential duties.