Continuing their acts of impunity, Armed Policemen on Wednesday chased away newly-employed teachers who gathered at a Stadium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to receive their deployment letters from the state government, because the police thought the teachers will protest against President Jonathan.
The teachers, numbering 13,000, were invited to the stadium by the state government to receive their letters of postings and to be addressed by the state Commissioner for Education, Alice Lawrence-Nemi.
Some of the teachers, who got to the stadium as early as 7.30am, were chased out by the police, others who got their late and tried to gain entrance into the stadium were stopped from entering the arena.
The innocent teachers were manhandled all because of lack of intelligence by the police who did not even try to find out the real reasons why the teachers were at the stadium.
The policemen, according to sources, had thought that the newly recruited teachers were in the stadium for a demonstration against President Jonathan, hence their decision to pounce on the teachers.
One of the teachers chased out of the Stadium told Punch that:
“My colleagues and I took the exam and we were successful. Now that the Ministry of Education invited us to come and collect our letters of posting, see what the police have done to frustrate us.”
When our correspondent visited the stadium, 12 Toyota Hilux patrol vehicles were seen parked at the main entrance with scores of heavily armed policemen guiding the place after the teachers had been dispersed.
Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, described the action of the police as “impunity from retrogressive forces.”
She said, “Virtually, this is the impunity we have been talking about in Rivers State. It is clear to Rivers people that this is the action of retrogressive forces who are totally against development because it is the first time any government, whether state or federal, is employing 13,000 teachers at once.
“These are people who have been unemployed. Nigeria is crying about unemployment, education system is in a mess and a government employs 13,000 teachers, trains them and wants to feed them into the system, and somebody chooses to treat this with levity and to tear gas the teachers and give a very stupid excuse, that the teachers were there to protest against President Jonathan.”
Funny enough, the police spokesman, Ahmad Mohammad, said:
“We got intelligence report that about 18,000 youths were being mobilised to protest against a very important personality in the country. You are aware that the ban on public procession in the state by the police is still in force."