Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the State Government will not permit the proliferation of vigilante groups, stating that youths interested in helping to build the state’s security architecture should join the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.
This is as Traditional Rulers of Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas submitted arms retrieved from repentant criminals in the Area, after a local amnesty programme.
Speaking at a brief ceremony where he received the Ekpeye Traditional Rulers from Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Governor Wike said that this decision became necessary after OSPAC from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area started over stepping their boundaries.
He said: “I am being very careful about Vigilante Groups in all the local Government Areas because of what OSPAC is doing. They are now going beyond their boundaries.
“We will reintegrate OSPAC into the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Anyone who wants to support the security structure, should join the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. We will not approve Local Vigilante for different Local Government Areas”.
He said that some of the criminals may pretend to have repented, only for them to renege after re-arming themselves.
Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government will no longer operate an amnesty programme, since many of the criminals reneged during the first exercise.
He said: “We granted amnesty in the past and some boys went back to crime. For now, we are doing what is called, ‘Binding Over’. If they renege, the law will take its course.
“When the court binds you over, it will be difficult for you to renege”.
While saying that the security agencies are determined to fight crime across the state, Governor Wike commended the Traditional Rulers of Ekpeye land and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ehie Edison for taking proactive action to improve security.
The Governor said the State Government will reward the Divisional Police Officers of Ahoada East and West and the Joint Task Force Commander in the area, Major Nwachukwu for their roles in promoting peace and security.
Earlier, Eze Igbu Upkata, Dr. Felix Otuwarikpo said Traditional Rulers from Ahoada East and West Local Government Areas worked with the security agencies to ensure that peace returned to Ekpeye land.
He said that the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, RT Hon Ehie Edison supported the peace process which included confidence building and the return of arms by repented criminals.
He said that 113 Former Cultists have repented and they turned in their arms. He noted that a cultist known as VIP and his group will also surrender on Friday.
Eze Igbu Upkata, Dr. Otuwarikpo urged the Rivers State Government to take steps to ensure that the boys don’t return to their criminal ways. The Traditional Ruler praised the Divisional Police Officers of Ahoada East and West and the JTF Commander for their commitment to peace in the area.
He said that the Ekpeye Traditional Rulers organised a local amnesty programme, wherein all repentant criminals were taken to the ancestral home of Ekpeye land for Traditional Oath taking. He said anyone who goes against the oath will face dire consequences.
Governor Wike and the Service Commanders later inspected the arms surrendered by the repentant criminals.
Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ehie Edison commended the peace initiative of Governor Wike. He said Ekpeye people appreciate the developmental efforts of the Governor.
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media.
June 25, 2019 .