Some prominent Rivers State personalities with known ties to Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, under the platform of Free Rivers Development Initiative (FRDI), have called on the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to urgently stop Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, from inaugurating the Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the state.
Wike had Thursday last week assented to the Rivers State Neigbourhood Safety Corps Bill 2018,geared towards providing additional security support system across the state.
But the group alleged that the real intention of the governor was to use the Corps to intimidate his political enemies, adding that if the inauguration of the Corps was not stopped, they would set up their own armed counter-corps.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, president of the group, Engr. Ngerebala Sampson, said already, about 200,000 cults and militia with arms, as well as groups of all shades, exist in the state, adding that arming the youth under the guise of vigilante group was an attempt to create a private militia for political purpose.
He also said it was evident that Wike “has no regards to Court processes; when in the face of the pending suits before the Federal High Court, he signed the Neigbourhood Safety Corps Bill into law.”
Engr. Ngerebala, who was supported by Hon. Chidi Lloyd, Hon. Asita Honourable and Prince Tonye Princewill, all members of All Progressives Congress (APC), on behalf of the group, said the recent history of vigilante activities and its aftermath in Borno, Bayelsa, Abia, Anambra and Ondo states are experiences that should not be repeated.
The group said, “The strong support by Senate Minority Leader, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio to the motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye against the establishment of similar vigilante group in Kogi state in the red chambers gives credence to our position.
“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police and other Security Agencies to take steps and stop the River State Governor from inaugurating the Rivers State Safety Corps.
“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 two Neigbourhood Safety Corps will police each other. We cannot allow what happened before, during and after the 2015 general elections in Rivers state to repeat itself in 2019.”
“You all know that before, during and after the 2015 general elections, Rivers State experience unprecedented number of political assassinations, where members of our party were gruesomely murdered in cold blood; their offence being that they were members of All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Those killings continued until recently, when the Federal Forces killed some of the death merchants of Governor Wike. The rate of violence and killings that occurred in Rivers state during the period under review, led to Rivers State being described as a theater of war.”
The group also said it raised alarm to the danger of such law when it was still a bill under consideration before the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“Rivers state has over 200,000 cults and militia with arms, groups of all shades, arming the youths under the guise of vigilante group is an attempt to create a private militia for political purpose.
“Despite all these concerns Governor was adamant and desirous of getting the bill passed into law as unconstitutional as it was. Two suits were filed at the Federal High Court Port Harcourt challenging the bill and seeking for an order of injunction restraining the governor from giving assent to the bill. The said suits were duly served on the governor, but governor ignored the suits and purportedly signed the bill into law”, it said.
While narrating his experience, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, said the state government had tried several times to prosecute him but withdrew it because the government could not substantiate any allegation against him.
Lloyd, a longstanding ally of Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, is no stranger to high-level scandal.
Lloyd was involved in a 2013 assault scandal involving an opponent in the Rivers State House of Assembly during a major political upheaval originating from a power tussle between then Rivers governor Amaechi, and Abuja-based contending power bloc led by then minister Wike, and former first lady, Patience Jonathan.
Hon Lloyd was also involved in a murder scandal involving a rival politician for which he was arrested, charged and granted bail.
Some would be quick to trace this group’s opposition to Wike, to Amaechi, his bitter rival, and understandably so.
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