In Rivers state, the security arrangements put in place to secure the state are working as GODWIN EGBA reports on those strategies.
Nigerians are overwhelmed by the activities of bandits and their deadly operations across the country who kill scores of innocent souls and destroy property worth millions of naira despite the efforts of security agencies. However, Rivers State Police Command says it is in a formidable working relationship with the state government and other sister security agencies to make the state uninhabitable for bandits.
The activities of criminals otherwise known as dare-devil bandits are not perculiar to the state usually referred to as Treasure Base of the Nation. The state is so referred for its enormous hydrocarbon businesses viz-aviz operations by oil and gas giants including other influx of first-class rated health, education facilities, hospitality industry and other commercial business activities.
Like other states, the state Governor, Nyesom Wike has had his tear-drop-tales over the experiences of the state in the hands of some faceless bandits who had murdered military and police officers at the wake of the ENDSARS last year.
Many criminals in disguises as Boko-Haram, killer-herders, among others, bear sophisticated arms to attack and destroy their targets brazenly as had always been witnessed in all parts of the country from the North-east to North-central; South-south, South-east and South-west.
However, one baffling fact about these bandits is that security agencies appear helpless in tracking them down even before and after they carry out their deadly mission, but in recent times, the police are making unprecedented successes in tracking down other criminals like armed robbers, cultists and kidnappers, among others.
Rivers is no doubt very critical to the Nigerian state and the international business communities because of the existing critical economy the world is scrambling for. For instance, it is the safety of the state and condusive business environment that magnets investors into the state.
The question however remains about the safety of the state when the central government has not been able to score, at least, 70% success with regards to its porous air and land boarders. Internally, security agencies are in dire battles to identify and flush out criminals from harming harmless citizens.
Police applaudes Wike on support
To that extent, the spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, in an interaction with Blueprint noted that despite the activities of bandits in other parts of the country, the state has built a brick wall that can ward-off any infiltrating bandits. This is with a view to making the state a safe haven for residents, visitors and the entire business communities.
Omoni acknowledged the massive socio-economic and infrastructural development being sunk across the state by Governor Wike–led administration for the past six years, saying those feat exite investors especially with the premium placed on security in the state.
He observed that with the high-level massive modern road networks and flyover or over-head bridges criss-crossing the state capital to the rural areas, it has become imperative for the state government, the police command and other security agencies to be pro-active and inter-face in dealing with security challenges.
Omoni disclosed that despite some human challenges, the state governor and the police command have not compromised in their responsibilities to the people in the state to ensure that their life and property are protected.
“As I speak, the state police command in synergy with our other sister agencies have taken effective charge of the state air and land entry boarders including internal communities and locations where companies are in operation.
“Like the proverbial saying that it is difficult for the camel to pass through the eyes of the needle, so it is with bandits or other criminal elements who may want to attempt us to penetrate into the state.
“Our officers and men are well motivated by Governor Wike who has listening ears to their plight and needs. For instance, he doled out N20 million to each family of our officers killed by bandits during the last ENDSARS criminal activities in the state.
“The governor who places high premium on security of the state has supported us with combatant patrol vehicles, crash helmets, operational vehicles for 24 hours among other motivational supports,” Omoni attested.
The PPRO disclosed with excitement that the state police command had always enjoyed motivation from all sitting commissioners of police posted to the state which informed why they put in their best against all odds.
“Even as we are committed to doing our best in fighting crimes with the support of the government, patriotic members of Rivers communities, I urge the general public not to relent in giving us credible information on criminal elements living with them because the police personnel are not spirits to be everywhere at the same time to checkmate criminals activities.”
Former police officer scores police high
A retired Assistant Commissioner of police (ACP) who spoke with Blueprint on condition of anonymity attested that Governor Wike inherited the state from the previous administration infested with criminals such as kidnappers, cultists and armed robbers until in recent times bandits started infiltrating the state from other states of the east and northern axis.
“I must say that the governor and the state police command are winning the war against bandits in many commendable ways like his logistics and weapons support to the police and Navy, among others” the ACP said.
In the month of June, for instance, the governor inaugurated 13 newly- elected local government chairmen under the umbrella of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and charged them to join the government in fighting criminal elements within their domains.
Demolition of criminals hideouts
Wike did not stop at that as he publicly ordered the demolition of all illegal structures and shanties serving as criminals hide-outs in the state. He specifically penciled down the Eleme-onne-East-west road axis where illegal structures had been in existence for decades especially the popular Eleme- Ebubu Trailer Park known as criminal empire.
The governor instructed the Eleme council boss, Chief Obarilomate Ollor, to carry out the demolition without fear or favour. Ollormate, who is apparently operating on the same page with his governor first gave signal to owners of those structures and criminals to quit before they would be caught up in the demolition exercise.
Ollormate subsequently carried out the governor’s order without delay. Blueprint witnessed the massive structures that were destroyed in Eleme and other parts of the state, but Governor Wike was quick to defend his action as he in a public broadcast said the action was intended to root out criminals who were operating from illegal structures as their hide-outs, but not to target any group of innocent people doing legal and genuine businesses.
After the demolition exercise in July, Blueprint finding revealed that the Eleme axis known to be a criminal hot bed returned to a safer haven for people living or doing one business or the other.
The council chairman ensured that all the major targeted areas were wiped out especially the trailer park which was a notorious criminal empire. Ollormate who is apparently on the same page with his governor had sent out a warning signal to criminals in their hide outs in Eleme to quit as he would soon force them out with the of security operatives at his disposal.
A cross-section of public analysts who spoke with Blueprint attested that for the past two months after the demolition, broad day robbery, kidnapping in Eleme have gone down, saying that the singular exercise has become a big plus to the first 100 days of the council chairman in office.