The Caretaker committee Chairmen in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State, have condemned, in the strongest term possible, the recent mindless killings in Aluu and other communities in the state, and challenged security agencies to leave no stone unturned in bringing perpetrators to justice.
They said this during a one-day town hall meeting, organized recently by the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council in partnership with 92.3 Nigeria Info, at the council’s Main Hall, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the event, Chariman of ALGON in the state and Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Sir Soni Samuel Ejekwu, said: “evil acts of cult-related murders, kidnappings and robberies in Rivers State, must be condemned in the strongest term possible. We are gathered here to collectively chat the way forward.”
Ejekwu noted that, “Following the increasing spate of heinous murders in several neighbouring local government areas (LGAs) in our beloved state, which are associated with cult activities, we have decided not to wait until it manifests in PHALGA before calling stakeholders in all the LGAs together to find a common ground.
“Our council appreciates that there exists a nexus between poverty and criminality in general terms. But we are also cognisant of the fact that the poorest societies in the world are not necessarily the ones with the highest crime rates.
According to him, “Most of those involved in these crimes are not the poorest among us. AK-47s and other dangerous weapons that they use for their illicit trade cost a lot of money. And many of the young men involved in these criminal acts are not ready to accept an 8am to 5pm jobs to earn salaries between N40,000 and N100,000 per month.
“We, therefore, have the responsibility to bring these evil acts down to their barest minimum in our LGA, considering the fact that we are the hosts to the Government of Rivers State,” Ejekwu added.
He called on all criminal gangs to sheath their swords, and give peace a chance, noting that the lure for quick riches and illusion of creating an imaginary empire would not lead them anywhere.
Ejekwu urged community leaders, chiefs, and all stakeholders in the local government areas to take responsibility for any crime committed around them, and called on all those who live, work and do business in the state to give useful information to security agencies so as to fast track effort to curb crimes and criminality in the state.
He further announced the release of hotlines: 08032003514 and 08098880134, which he advised residents of the state to call when in distress.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Musa Kimo, commended the mayor for organising the town hall meeting, and said that the police were ready now, more than ever before to partner well-meaning persons to combat violent crimes and criminality in the state.
Kimo, who was represented by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Patrick Ogowe, said that security was not the responsibility of police alone, but that of all citizens and residents of the state, and tasked all stakeholders to provide useful information, no matter how minute, as it could help the police in nipping any crime in the bud.
Those that attended the town hall meeting were the 23 chairmen of caretaker committees, leaders of the various security agencies in the state, traditional rulers, women and youth leaders, Christian and Muslim leaders, among others.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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