â€¢ To deny police powers to vet operatives
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said the state executive council would approach the house of assembly to amend the recently enacted Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Law to remove the power to vet operatives of the agency from the police.
The governor said the amendment became necessary because some politicians had approached the police to sabotage the scheme by rejecting operatives recruited by the agency.
Wike, who spoke yesterday while inaugurating the board of directors of the agency at the Government House, Port Harcourt, said there is no going back on the establishment of the agency because it is central to the security of the state.
He charged the members of the board of the agency to kick-start the process of recruiting quality operatives for the agency.
â€œUse your experiences and capabilities to ensure that the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency takes off effectively.
â€œStart the recruitment process of the operatives. By September, 2018, I expect that the training of operatives would have been concluded and the agency fully operational,â€ he said.
He said the removing the power to approve recruited operatives would also make the state law similar to what is obtainable in Lagos State.
The governor advised the Board to recruit only persons that have the interest of the state at heart.
He said contrary to criticisms against the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency, they are only to bear light arms subject to the approval of the Police, explaining that the light arms to be borne by the agencyâ€™s operatives would be for self-defence.
â€œThe chairman of the board is a retired brigadier general, while the director general is a retired assistant commissioner of police. We have appointed credible and experienced retired security chiefs because we want the best for the state.
â€˜Now that we have prevailing peace in the state, all efforts should be geared towards sustaining it,â€ he said.
Responding, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency, Brigadier General Dick Ironabare, assured the government and people of the state that the agency would work to enhance state-wide security.
He commended the Rivers State Governor for deeming it necessary to set up the new security scheme which, he said, was in line with international best practices of securing communities.
The chairman said the agency would work within the ambit of the law in the discharge of her duties, adding that most of the people opposedÂ to the agency do so because they did not understand its relevance in modern day security framework.
He commended Wike for the support rendered to security agencies across the state as well as the promulgation of stringent laws to check kidnapping and cultism.
Those inaugurated as members of the Board of Directors of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency include: Brigadier General Dick Ironabare, Chairman; Chief Casca Ogosu, Mr Dennis Amachree, Prof Emenike Wami, Anthony Ozurumba and Mrs Victoria Chikeka as members while Uche Mike Chukwuma would serve as Director General and Nma Omereji as Secretary/Legal Adviser .