Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps has come to stay in the state, noting that opponents of the Corps should approach the courts for redress.
This is as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rivers State declared her support for the Neighbourhood Safety Corps set up by Wike. They stated that it would help resolve the security challenges in the state.
Speaking during a Courtesy Visit by the CAN, Rivers State at the Government House Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said he would not be moved by the negative propaganda, blackmail and politicisation of security by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: â€œI assented to a law constitutionally passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly and they say I must be punished for carrying out my constitutional responsibility. I prefer that I have done my work, so I can die than not doing it and still die.
â€œWhat are they afraid of that they are telling people that they will carry arms? Look at what the law says. If you are giving out information, criminals will come after you. They will not carry arms without the approval of the security agencies.
â€œThey are now trying to politicise the whole outfit. The law has come to stay. If they donâ€™t like it, the courts are there for them to challenge it.â€
Speaking further, Wike said: â€œRivers State Government was not the first state that initiated Neighbourhood Safety Corps. It was started by Lagos State Government.
â€œWhen criminal activities became so much in the state, everyone focused on prayers and did everything humanly possible to support security agencies. When I took over in 2015, they repeatedly changed Commissioners of Police. I bemoaned the incessant changes that disorganised the security architecture of the state.
â€œThat was how they planned to declare State of Emergency in Rivers State. They claimed there was so much crime. I cried for help, but they refused to help. I told them that God sees their refusal to help and it will lead to national crisis.
â€œWhat is happening today? We are no longer talking of kidnapping, we are confronted with killings everyday in different parts of the country. Whether you call it Fulani versus farmers, community versus community, whether you call it terrorists or whatever colouration you want to give it, killings everywhere.â€
The governor said that under the Presidential System, the Legislature passes a law, while it is the constitutional responsibility of the governor to assent.
He said: â€œThey thought they want to paint Rivers State black, now Nigeria is black. If they had come to our rescue to support us then, if they had not played politics with the security of Rivers State, maybe God may have forgiven. But because they thought we have nobody, they shot their eyes.
â€œThis Neighbourhood Safety Corps, we just went to Lagos, studied what Lagos State did and replicated it here. Federal government never said anything against Lagos State.
â€œToday, security has gone beyond carrying of guns. We must have to get intelligence. We must be proactive. We donâ€™t have the number of security men that can cover all the communities. We adopted what Lagos State. We are employing men and women who are committed to make sure that this state is safe. These young men and women will give intelligence to security agencies and work in synergy with them.â€
He described as baseless, allegations that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would be armed to attack opposition elements.
The governor thanked the Christian Association of Nigeria for their support for his administration, saying that he will not let them down.
â€œBut for the prayers of Christians, the state would have been subdued by challenges. It would have been very difficult for us to carry out our assignments. The state has been persecuted for no just reason,â€ he said.
He reiterated the need for Christians to register in their numbers, so that they can positively influence the political direction of Rivers State.
He said that INEC has nominated a resident electoral commissioner who has not been screened, but the nominee knows that he will be deployed to Rivers State.
Presenting the position of the Rivers State CAN, Rev. Dan Obinna, said Rivers Christians were happy with the performance of the Rivers State Governor.
He commended Wike for the execution of projects that impact the lives of the people positively.
â€œWe use this forum once again to congratulate you on your execution of projects that positively touch the lives of the people,â€ Director of Legal Affairs of Rivers State CAN, Rev Dan Obinna said.
While congratulating the Rivers State Governor for the numerous national and international awards, Rivers State CAN urged the governor to sustain his outstanding performance.
â€œWe join all other progressive people to say that the Rivers State Governor has done well. We knew it from the beginning, that was why we started the spree of encouragement when we awarded you the Apostle of Peace.
â€œWe commend you on your frontal approach on the issue of security in the state. We especially commend you for the establishment of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, which is your most recent strategy in handling security matters in the state.â€