Government functionaries in Rivers State said they might resort to the use of bodyguards to fill the gap created by the withdrawal of policemen attached to them.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Otelemaba Amachree, and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Mr. Tony Okocha, had alleged that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, withdrew policemen attached to them.
Mbu had told newsmen that the Speaker, who already had 15 policemen attached to his (Amachree) office, recently got nine more from the Mobile Squadron unit of the Nigeria Police.
The police commissioner said he decided to withdraw the nine newly acquired policemen attached to the Speaker and also the “surplus” security operatives attached to some council chairmen.
But top government functionaries affected by the withdrawals have vowed to employ the services of bodyguards in order to ensure their personal safety.
It will be recalled that some of the officials had been staying away from events following the absence of police escorts.
Media Assistant to the Speaker, Mr. Jim Okpiki, told The PUNCH in a telephone interview on Sunday that those affected by the withdrawal of security agents, including his principal, might opt for personal bodyguards or bouncers.
Okpiki said the absence of police escort had left top government functionaries with the only option of hiring bouncers to guard them.
He said, “That is the only alternative left for the Speaker and other government officials affected by the withdrawal of policemen attached to them.
“When they are denied official security, they are indirectly being told to embrace self-help. This means that those affected would have to get alternative security like bouncers for their personal security.
“We know they would have to pay for it from their pockets. The most important thing is for them to be protected anywhere they go.”
On the recent invitation of Amachree by the state police commissioner, Okpiki explained that the Speaker had yet to receive any invitation from the police command.
The State Police Command had invited Amachree over a letter written to President Goodluck Jonathan on an alleged plot to assassinate Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
He promised that the Speaker would honour the invitation by the state police command whenever such letter was received.