Peterside to Wike: End Insecurity in Rivers Now •Or Reject another  Oath of Office  

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By Ngozi Ekhator

Rivers State Governor,  Nyesom Wike, has again been charged to buckle his belt and fight insecurity in the state against rising killings and relocation of businesses,, or, decline taking another Oath of Office on May 29, 2019.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, who handed down the challenge on Monday, in reaction to the deterioatiating security situation in the state, argued that as a state governor, Wike’s primary duty is to secure the lives and property of the people, without which citing of infrastructure and any other corollary of development would amount to zero.

Peterside lamented that gradually, Rivers State was becoming a ghost state and a cemetary where terror runs riot round the clock and people live and move in daily fear of either kidnappers, dare-devil armed robbers, or marauding cultists who kill and beheaded at will. “Life, in Rivers State has become a sort of jackpot as residents who wake up in the morning are not sure of living to see another night, just as those who eventually make it to the night are uncertain they would see the next morning. When such residents manage to snatch a morsel of sleep, they wake up amid the horrors of severed heads, decapitated bodies and trails of blood. To Rivers residents, day and night have both become emblems of terror. In Wike’s Rivers State, people are killed while waiting for or driving in traffic, on the streets, while watching a game of soccer and at homes. Both the poor and wealthy live in fear of each other.

The NIMASA Director General said that latest figures emerging from the state are both frightening and capable of permanently shutting out Rivers State from the list of potential business destinations for investors. He countered Gov. Wike over his recent claims that International Oil Companies, OICs, operating in the state were responsible for the killings and kidnappings in the state, saying that the governor was only trying to play smart like the proverbial ostrich. He insisted that insecurity had prospered in the state to the extent Gov. Wike had patronised it and its direct perpetrators. “Insecurity has been this lucrative for the direct actors because Mr. Governor has patronised and pampered its primary and passive perpetrators. Wike knew that though keeping those violent structures from 2015, when he first contested for the governorship, to 2019, when he sought re-election, would build for him a charred and bloody boulevard to return to the Office of Governor of Rivers State, yet he cared less to the cost it would impose on the people. Rather than protect Rivers State, as he swore to do on 29th May, 2015, Wike chose to protect his gluttonous quest for public office. Like his mentor, Emperor Nero, Wike partied and gulped drums of champagne while Rivers burnt.
Peterside questioned whether the Rivers State Governor still had conscience and wondered how he slept night after night as reports of fresh killings, hordes of kidnapping emerged on daily basis.  “Just like every sane citizen of Rivers State would ponder, I’m at a loss how Mr. Wike slept night after night when he received reports of daily killings and hordes of kidnappings that occurred in the state.

Only on Sunday, reports emerged of mass murder of innocent natives of Kono-Bo-ue, a community in Khana local government, and by Monday morning, a community leader said it had risen to twenty. On Monday morning, also, reports come that on Sunday night, about 2 persons were killed in Isiodu, Emohua local government, which were exclusive of the horror that the short Ndele-Ahoada stretch of the East-West road has become to locals and general road users. Few weeks ago, a bus-load of commuters heading to Abua, in Abua-Odual local government area, had the passengers kidnapped even the bus driver was killed in cold-blood. About two days later, a bus conveying early bird travellers to Warri, Delta State, suffered similar fate in the hands of armed kidnappers. The driver was also murdered in the presence of the passages. Those are fewer instances of reported cases as there were possibly many, many unreported such incidents.
While condoning with affected families,  Peterside was of the opinion that it does not require rocket science to rail-in the patrons, actors and beneficiaries of the crime industry in Rivers State.  “All that is needed is the political will on the part of  Mr. Wike, to repent and turn the heat on the crime chefs and their dining tables. No doubt, the greater population of Rivers natives and residents, actually fed-up with the situation, are ready to lend support to terminate this sinister business. There is no doubt that national security agencies are also ready to provide necessary support to the state government but are only waiting on Wike to take the lead”, Peterside added.
He warned that unless urgent actions were taken by Gov. Wike, more businesses would wound up to  seek secure environment. According to the NIMASA Chief, Rivers State has maintained a ridiculously pole position on the national scale of poverty rating and misery index amidst huge inflow of national and local revenue under Wike. He regretted that the case of the state has become like that of the “Ancient Mariner” who lamented “Water, water everywhere, but not a single drop to drink”, making it a by-word in the comity of modern states.
He advised Wike to learn to separate politics from governance which he added, is what Rivers State needs right now. “Wike had shown that the governorship office was bigger than his capacity. His first four years as governor are just enough for the trial-and-error jamboree he subjected the state to. I doubt that Rivers people will have patience for another four years of circuit dance in the hands of Wike. Since the office is bigger then his capacity, Wike should call for help, and there are Rivers sons and daughters, eager to lend hand for the growth of the state. Otherwise, Wike should reject taking another Oath of Office on May 29, 2019 which will be an honourable way to  save his chequered legacy.”

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