Senator representing Rivers South-East in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Magnus Ngei Abe is back in the country after spending weeks abroad for treatment following his January 12 shooting at the police-disruption of a rally organized by the Save Rivers Movement in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, was also shot at the rally.
Senator Abe, who is in no hurry to forget his ordeal in the hands of the Nigeria Police, now wants to sue the Police Service Commission (PSC), Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar; the State Police Commissioner at the time of the shooting, Joseph Mbu, and others, who took part in the incident that almost claimed his life.
Abe, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), returned to the state on Saturday for the first time since his evacuation abroad for treatment and spoke with journalists on his ordeal.
Dismissing the position of the state police command as well as the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that he only feigned being shot at, the lawmaker said: “I was not alone there (at the Rivers College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt). There were more than two hundred people, who saw what happened.
“If nothing happened, why were they so eager to make sure that no picture of what happened got out?
“They (policemen) opened fire on us in their midst. We were not in any crowd. To say that I was not shot is the largest understatement or the biggest lie of the century. These men opened fire, tear gassed; everything was fired everywhere. People saw what happened.
“That I was not killed, yes, but to say they opened fire on you and you did not die, therefore nothing happened, is the height of… I do not know how to describe it. However, for me, I am going to court. I have asked my lawyers to file my case in court, against all those who had hands in what happened. I will meet them in court”.
He also bared his mind on the protracted political crisis in the state, saying: “Since last year, there has been a concerted attempt to remove the governor (Amaechi) from office and overthrow the government of Rivers State by force and there is no provision in our Constitution for that kind of behaviour.
“Having tried all earthly means and they have failed, I will appeal to them to now sheathe their swords and let us work together, to try to help the people of Rivers State. That is the reason for which we say we are playing politics. What we are doing now is not helping them.
“It is clear that the governor cannot be removed without the law. So, since that is clear and that is what we all agreed, as citizens of Nigeria, let us work with the governor, let him do his job and let all of us, who also have jobs to do, be allowed to do our own jobs. If we do that, it will help the state (Rivers), it will help the country.
“For us to turn Rivers State into a theatre of war, because of the ambition of any single individual, is morally, politically and spiritually wrong. We cannot kill ourselves here, because of anybody. If people feel that they want to join a political party, they should be allowed to join the party of their choice.
“If you feel that you have superior reason why people should follow your own party, explain your reasons to the people. Do not carry guns to go and attack or kill the people, for going to join another party. There is no justification for that kind of behaviour. As far as I know, the President (Dr. Jonathan) himself has said he does not think that anybody’s ambition is worth anybody’s blood”.
Abe, a former SSG and lawyer, also flayed the killing of a young man in Degema-Kalabari, the headquarters of Degema LGA of Rivers State, during the ongoing membership registration of the All Progressive Congress, APC, stressing that a stop must be put to the lawlessness and impunity, before it gets out of hand.
“Nobody should assume that when you throw a stone into the market, you know who it will hit. If we continue to buy guns and arm people, every gun you buy has a lifespan of over one hundred years.
“So, who knows who will be your friend tomorrow? Who knows who will be your enemy tomorrow? Who knows in which direction these guns will point tomorrow? Let us play our politics, win or lose, let us thank God for the privilege he has given to us to lead and we should move on with our lives”.
On the seeming refusal by the Senate leadership to read the letter written by the 11 PDP Senators that defected to the APC, Abe said it was all politics.
“The fact remains that what we have in the Senate is not different from what we have been having. We have a situation in the Senate. We have confidence in the leadership of the Senate. We have confidence in the Senate as an institution, that we will find a solution that will enable us as individual Senators to find our own satisfaction and self-expression”, he said.
Senator Abe later proceeded to his home town, Bera-Ogoni in Gokana Local Government area to participate in the ongoing membership registration of APC, which began nationwide last Wednesday.