Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Yet-to-be identified gunmen in the early hours of Monday invaded Mgbuoshimini Community in Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State, killing at least 15 people.
In its reaction, the state government ordered the police to fish out the perpetrators while Governor Nyesom Wike lamented that politics by the police high command was distorting the stateâ€™s security architecture.
THISDAY gathered that the gunmen stormed the community at about 3a.m. yesterday, shooting sporadically and leaving behind at least 15 persons dead.
Two youths were also killed in the community last Thursday by unknown gunmen.
The source of the attack was yet to be known as at the time of filing this report.
However, an eyewitness, who spoke with THISDAY, said the attackers stormed the community around 3.30a.m with heavy gunshots.
The eyewitness, who gave his name as Alhaji Iliasu Bashir, and resident of the community, said, â€œAround 3.30a.m in the night, I started hearing gunshots by Slaughter area in the Mgbuoshimini at the waterside. So this morning somebody called me that they have killed one of your brothers. When I went there I saw Nasiru who is our security at the Slaughter and when I checked on the other side I saw many corpses, up to eleven corpses.
â€œThere is one uncompleted building behind, I donâ€™t know how many persons that lived there but they killed all of them and burnt the house. They said nobody should touch the corpses until the Commissioner of Police send in his men.â€
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni (DSP), said: â€œThat was very unfortunate incident. Our men are already there. The cause of the incident is not yet known.â€
He put the casualty figure at 10 persons dead and several others injured.
He further stated that those killed might not be the target of the attack as most of the victims were traders at the market.
He said police had beefed security in the area.
In its reaction, the state government condemned the to killings and charged the police fish out the gunmen at all cost
In a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Emma Okah, the state government said: â€œThe State Government is ready to spare nothing to support the security agencies get these killers irrespective of where they are found. Even in their holes, smoke them out from there and you should have no rest until we get to the end of the case, until we see justice.â€
He stated that the State would not give in to criminals and their sponsors.
While commiserating with the families of the deceased, he said the situation was unacceptable to the state government.
However, the police have declared eight persons wanted in connection with the killings
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, disclosed to THISDAY by telephone yesterday night.
Meanwhile, while receiving Course Participants of the National Defence College on Study Tour to the state at the Government House Port Harcourt yesterday, the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, decried the politicisation of security in the state by the Police High Command, saying that it is negatively affecting the stateâ€™s security architecture.
He said the state was suffering from certain avoidable security infractions because of the politics introduced in security management.
Wike commiserated with the families of the deceased, saying that the administration would continue to strengthen security, despite the acts by the Special Anti-robbery Squad to sabotage the state security architecture.
He said: â€œWe had a security incident, I expected the state Commissioner of Police to be here to brief me and for us to plan to forestall a recurrence, but he will not come. He may brief me over the telephone.â€
The governor reiterated that SARS Commander, Mr. Akin Fakorede, was specifically positioned in the state by the police high command to disorganise the state security architecture.
He informed that the same Rivers SARS Commander who was indicted by the INEC Official Election Report as being involved in the repeated rigging of elections, has been left in the state to continue to wreak havoc on the security architecture.
â€œWe wrote to the Inspector General of Police to transfer those who sabotaged our security out of the State, but he chose to leave them. Instead, the security saboteurs are busy participating in kidnapping and armed robbery with the use of SARS platform.
â€œEveryday people are crying on radio about their experiences with SARs, yet the Police High Command has refused to act,â€ he said.
He stated that certain official federal policies and decisions also negatively affect security in the Niger Delta.
According to the governor, the Niger Delta is considered safe for the drilling of oil, but not safe for the international oil companies to have their head offices.
He stated that his administration has invested in youth development and empowerment in order to improve the security situation of the state.
In his remarks, the Team Leader and Secretary of the National Defence College, Air Vice Marshal Shafi Kudo, said the theme of the study tour is: â€˜Youth Empowerment and National Security: Issues and Prospects.â€™
He lauded the governor for his achievements, noting that his projects have transformed the landscape of Rivers State.
He said: â€œWe are aware that you have turned the state into a construction site. Rivers State has been transformed.â€