Keeping Rivers State safe from criminal elements has been one of the most challenging tasks for Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has worked day and night to destabilize the state, using all manners of diabolical means.
The National Chairman of the APC, Mr John Odigie-Oyegun confessed to the desperation of the APC during solidarity visit by the 2015 defeated Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside.
Odigie-Oyegun said: “We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP. No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country.”
Since then, the APC has used all known illegal tricks to undermine the security of Rivers State, her people and the development interests of the state. It has adopted frightening measures, using the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and her commander, Akin Fakorede to weaken state-wide security at some point.
The trick of attempting to promote insecurity is premised on the fact that Governor Wike is working and cannot be criticised on the platform of performance. Therefore, APC leaders working in concert with a few compromised security operatives, sponsor incidents of insecurity to earn talking points in a political climate that has choked their 2019 chances.
To the advantage of Rivers State, Governor Wike has stabilised security in the state, using strategic measures and adequate funding of security operations.
Despite the challenges posed by the failure of the Federal Government to fund security agencies, Governor Wike has made the state safe for businesses to thrive and people to live their lives without molestation.
At the last count, the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike has donated over 250 Patrol Vans to Security Agencies, more than 20 Armoured Personnel Carriers, rehabilitated over 50 Armoured Personnel Carriers and procured well over 50 gunboats for waterway security.
The monthly security funding stopped by the immediate past failed Amaechi administration was reintroduced by Governor Wike to ensure that the agencies are alive to their responsibilities.
Even the unfortunate major security breach on New Year Day at Omoku, which claimed 17 Lives, was resolved because of the proactive and decisive measures put in place by the Rivers State Governor.
The N200million bounty led to the killing of Don Wanny, while the N640million bounty for the 32 cultists declared wanted by the Rivers State Security Council has enabled security operatives trace these deadly kingpins.
The security of Rivers State has witnessed a remarkable improvement in recent times. It is a destination of choice for several national and international events.
Fundamentals of Rivers Neighbourhood Safety Corps
There are issues of concern in different communities in relation to the security of lives and property. It is on this basis that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike proposed the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps to the Rivers State House of Assembly for consideration and passage.
The passage of this bill followed due process. Public hearings were held, different civil society organisations made their contributions and the state resolved that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps was the best way to consolidate on the security of the state.
While giving assent to the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law, Governor Wike said that Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps will support existing security agencies with intelligence and information for them to effectively fight crime and make the state safer.
The governor said that the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps cannot work without the approval of security agencies who will profile all the operatives.
He said anybody who loves Rivers State will not do anything to undermine steps that will enhance the security of lives in the state.
He said: “If your hands are clean, you have nothing to fear about the three laws that I have given assent to. By tomorrow, I will appoint the person that will head the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps.
“All criminals will face the full weight of the law. We will fight crime and ensure that the State is safe for investors “.
He debunked claims by opposition elements that the State Government plans to use the Neighbourhood Watch to arm youths. The governor said that the corps is a replica of what is already in existence in Lagos State.
Checking Cultism and Kidnapping
To further improve the security of the state, the Governor also gave his assent to the Rivers State Secret Cult and Similar Activities (Prohibition) (Amendment) Law No.6 of 2018 and the Rivers State Kidnap (Prohibition) (Amendment) No.2 Law No.7 of 2018.
On the Anti-kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Laws, Governor Wike said that stiffer penalties have been approved to discourage those who may want to be involved in the offences.
“If you are a cultist and you are caught, it is life imprisonment. If you are a cultist and you kill during cult activities, you will face the death penalty.
“If you are convicted of kidnapping and the Supreme Court affirms your conviction, I will sign the death warrant without looking back “, the governor said.
The governor said that the State Government will battle cultism and kidnapping to a standstill, noting that enough is enough.
The decision to secure Rivers State through the strategic partnership between the Neighbourhood Safety Corps and the security agencies is in the best interest of all Rivers people, irrespective of political affiliation.
Existing Security Agencies Need Intelligence Gathering Support
It goes without saying that the Federal Security Agencies need support to effectively secure the country. Already, Lagos State Government has established the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC). In Kano State, the Hisbah Police exists, while in Benue State officials of anti open Grazing Guards are in operation, while there are existing Official Vigilance Teams in Anambra and Abia States. Cross River State christened her team, the Green Police. All these organisations are backed by enabling laws within their respective states.
According to the Lagos State Official website: “The Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC) is a uniformed security agency established by a law of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2016 to assist the Police and other security agencies to maintain law and order in the state. They operate in all the 57 LGA/LCDA in Lagos.
The Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC) officers are indigenous locals from the various LGA/LCDA where they operate, which is a deliberate policy in order to make use of their local knowledge to achieve maximum grass root intelligence gathering and community policing.”
Governor Ambode has since recruited 5700 operatives, who have been equipped and funded to work with the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.
The Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps is similar to that of Lagos State. It has similar functions and will operate in tandem with all the Federal Agencies.
CHIDI LLOYD, TONYE PRINCEWILL AND THE TERROR-THIRSTY RIVERS APC
Expectedly, the improvement of Rivers Security Architecture has drawn the ire of Rivers APC. As modalities are being concluded for the successful take off of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Rivers APC in far away Abuja unleashed her terror merchants, Chidi Lloyd, Tonye Princewill and other misguided politicians to threaten violence and mayhem in the state.
Operating under an anti-Rivers Political Platform: “Free Rivers Development Innitiative (FRDI) “, the Rivers APC threatened to arm youths to kill, maim and destroy across the state. These terror merchants held a press conference on Sunday in Abuja with well over 20 Policemen and DSS operatives offering them protection.
Clothing the Inspector General of Police with powers beyond his capacity, they asked him to disband the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps. They went ahead to issue varying degrees of threats before the National Media.
Hear Chidi Lloyd and Tonye Princewill speaking for Free Rivers Development Initiative, a group sponsored by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi:
“Whereby our call is not heeded to, our reaction will be to also set up our own Neighbourhood Safety Corps to watch Wike’s neighbourhood Safety Corps. We shall cloth them with uniforms and apply for arms for them through the police, then the 2 Neigbourhood Safety Corps will police each other. “
These men by their words confessed to crimes already domiciled within the ranks of the APC. All through the 2015 General Elections and the several rerun elections in Rivers State, APC leaders working in league with criminally minded security commanders, sewed SARs and Army uniforms, with which they armed youths to spread terror for political gains. Despite their antics with the illegal support of some security operatives, Rivers people refused to be intimidated.
These terror merchants with no value for human lives would be held to account. The safety of Rivers people is of paramount importance to the Rivers State Governor and the threats of political terror merchants cannot distract him. Rivers people knew the viciousness of these political vampires before they overwhelmingly voted Governor Wike to right the wrongs.
In Lagos State where the Neighbourhood Safety Corps has existed for a while, there are PDP leaders in the opposition. These PDP leaders have remained patriotic, supporting all efforts to secure their state in the face of escalating kidnapping and badoo cultism.
The threat to kill, maim and destroy Rivers people by the leaders of Rivers APC underscores their sponsorship of criminals to undermine the security of the state. There is nowhere in the globe where political leaders declare that they will gladly kill their people for political gains, other than the failed APC Federal Government sponsored by the disgruntled and failed Rotimi Amaechi.
Should there by any further security breach. Nigerians know the sponsors. They confessed in front of the National Media. Little wonder, Don Wanny became a devilish crime lord under Amaechi for eight years, until Governor Wike ended his reign of terror by declaring that enough is enough.
Chidi Lloyd may be under the protection of the Police and the failed APC Federal Government, but the wheel of justice will definitely find him. A man who almost murdered a colleague amongst other heinous crimes should be in prison serving a long term.
Governor Wike has committed himself to the strengthening of the Rivers State security architecture. The establishment of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps is one of such steps which has the support of the State House of Assembly, the State Civil Society, Rivers people and people who do business in the state.
Already, Governor Wike has appointed a retired assistant commissioner of police, Dr Uche Mike Chukwuma as the Acting Director General of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps. Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Uche Mike Chukwuma brings to the table, years of expertise in security operations and a working knowledge of the Rivers terrain .
As they say, nothing good comes easy. The beneficiaries of violence are expected to resist the Neighbourhood Safety Corps snd other programmes aimed at protecting Rivers State.
They want Rivers State to taste the bitter pill of insecurity the failed APC Federal Government has served more than 18 States. Governor Wike is a proactive leader, who places premium on Rivers lives. Insecurity will never find home in Rivers State. Once again, APC has failed.
It speaks volumes that a man with confirmed killer instincts like Chidi Lloyd continues to lead the Rivers APC’s charge for acceptance in Rivers State. No right thinking society will surrender her leadership to blood-sucking demons, who bask in their senseless capacity to kill their brothers and arm youths. Little wonder, Nigeria is today a killing field, where APC leaders marry as defenceless citizens gnash their teeth as they conduct mass burials for loved ones. Same sad story in Benue, Zamfara, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Delta, Edo, Ebonyi, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba, Borno, Adamawa, Ogun, Oyo, Kebbi and Nasarawa States where the APC Federal Security Agencies have watched helplessly as criminals destroy the foundation of peaceful living in the country.
Governor Wike will not be part of this ‘siddon look’ attitude. With the support of Rivers people through their elected representatives, he has invested time, energy and resources in protecting Rivers State. This is a solemn responsibility at a time when leaders of APC at all levels have lost value for human lives.