The Rivers State Government has condemned the killing of some innocent persons in the early hours of last Monday in Mgbuoshimini community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State by gunmen who came through the waterways. The government vowed that it would leave no stone unturned in apprehending and bringing those behind the dastardly act to justice.
The government consequently directed the police and security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime at all cost.
This was contained in a statement issued last Monday in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah.
The statement said, “the 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”.
Charging the security agencies to redouble their efforts in combating cult-related violence and killings, Okah noted that the Rivers State Government will not give in to criminals and their sponsors.
According to the statement, “The Rivers State Government commiserates with the families of the deceased and promise that this case will not be accepted.
“This sad incident underscores the stand of Rivers State Government that security and crime prevention are the concern of everybody, and should not be politicised so that the state can grow. A moment like this calls for a collective effort on the part of all,” he added.
The statement further added that “this sudden breakdown of security architecture is a fallout of the activities of some politicians in Eleme Local Government Area at the weekend where over 1,000 policemen and other security agents as well as some Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) were redeployed from their duty posts.
“The Rivers State Government calls on the public to stand up and cooperate with the police and other security agencies in their duties.
“Rivers State Government will continue to give the security agencies all the support they require to ensure the security of our state and reduce incidence of crime”, he said, adding that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
The Tide recalls that residents of Mgbuoshimini, near Rumueme were rattled by sporadic gun shots from a suspected cult group in the early hours of last Monday, in what some described as reprisal attack following another killing spree three days earlier, which claimed the lives of two young men in the community.
The gunmen had attacked the community through the nearby waterway, leaving on their trail, about 15 persons dead.
The Tide reporter, who visited the scene in the early hours of Monday, counted 12 corpses on the ground before visiting a nearby Saint Margaret’s Clinic, Mgbuoshimini, where a doctor confirmed another three dead.
The attack also left one in a critical condition at the clinic, while a three-month old baby girl, Precious Maxwell was found in her mother’s pool of blood, amidst smoke and fire.
The Tide reports that the baby was later taken home by her relatives.
The Tide recalls that barely five months ago, Chief Minikwu Chukwu and an Ogoni boy were murdered in cold blood, just as last Thursday, two others were gunned down in the Oro-Akwor axis of the community.
Speaking at the scene of the incident, Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed expressed worry over the spate of violence and killings in the area.
“I am worried over this type of violence, and every well meaningful person should be worried. 12 dead bodies are on ground as gunmen came and started shooting sporadically. Investigations have commenced, as we have interviewed some eyewitnesses. Soonest, the law will catch up on them, and all those perpetrating these evils would be brought to book,” the commissioner promised.
The state commissioner of police also declared eight suspected members of the Icelander cult group wanted in connection with the killings in Mgbuoshimini community.
Ahmed, who did not disclose the names of the suspects, simply said that the detectives have been given marching orders to fish out the suspects wherever they may be, and arraign them before a court of competent jurisdiction, so that justice can take its course.
The Obio/Akpor LGA Caretaker Community Chairman, Hon Goodnews Clinton Amadi expressed sadness at the deterioration of security in the community, and assured that the council would give total support to security agencies to ensure all those responsible for the killings were brought to book.
“As we all can see, this is a security matter, and we, as a council are doing all we can to support the security agencies to ensure the murderers are brought to book,” she added.
Also reacting, member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency II in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Michael Chindah said what happened was unfortunate and unacceptable.
Chindah commiserated with members of the bereaved families, and advised them not to take laws into their hands as security operatives were on top of the situation to unravel the killers and bring them to justice.
The victims include Yeeka Mgbor from Ogoni; Maduka Anaebo from Imo State; Mrs Glory Monday from Cross River and her husband, an Andoni man simply identified as Manlorlor. They were said to have been killed while asleep inside a mosquito net.
Others are Masuru Muhammad and Mammuda Ibrahim both Hausa; Prince Godwin Julius (a.k.a Junior) and his wife, Abigail both from Andoni; Mrs Atisi Maxwell, whose three-month old girl, Precious Maxwell survived the massacre; Emeka James from Etim-Ekpo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. Two other unidentified corpses were also seen at the waterfront.
Blessing Edidiong from Akwa Ibom State was in a critical condition at the clinic as at the time of filing this report, with no relative to care for him.
The brother of one of the deceased, Loveday Anaebo told The Tide that his brother worked with the Nyeche Dredging Company as a welder and had lived in the building where he met his untimely death for over 10 years.
He said his brother’s corpse was not one that should be taken to the mortuary, but would be buried immediately, because the fire had burnt him beyond recognition.
Founder and Medical Director of St Margaret’s Clinic, Dr Funso Agiginni told The Tide that four victims were brought to the clinic, but added that three died while only one, Blessing Edidiong from Akwa Ibom, was still receiving treatment at the clinic.
Agiginni listed the names of those brought to the clinic as Blessing Edidiong, who was still alive; and Emeka, Nneka and Latti whom he confirmed dead, adding that the deceased families had taken their corpses for burial before the arrival of the police.
He appealed the state government to take over the treatment and off-set the cost of medical treatment for the only surviving victim at the clinic.
The Tide investigations revealed that the present violence escalated following disagreements over who should be responsible for the collection of operational permits from ‘Keke’ operators in the area.
It was learnt that those saddled with the responsibility of collecting the ‘Keke’ drivers’ dues had refused to render account of money collected to the Community Development Committee, and instead of showing remorse, went on the offensive, warning the chiefs and elders of the community to steer clear of the crisis in the youth leadership in the community.
The Tide reports that the community had been embroiled in land dispute between two families, which resulted in the murder of the Secretary of the Rumueme Council of Chiefs, Chief Minikwu Chukwu and one Optimist Jaja in May.
In a swift reaction, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had ordered the government takeover of the parcel of land at Mgbuoshimini Junction, near Nigerian Agip Oil Company office, and directed the construction of a school and health centre at the site.
Just about four months ago, one Chief Mgbor and an Ogoni boy were killed by suspected cultists in the community.
Also on July 30, Baridule Cletus Dunle was shot dead while Godspower Aligbo and Dickson Gogo-Jaja were killed on October 4, 2017.
The Tide reports that casualties of the last Monday attack included 15 innocent residents, who were petty artisans in the community, and a building which was completely razed.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday declared that the perpetrators of the Mgbuoshimini massacre would be brought to justice.
He made the declaration when he led members of the State Security Council on an on-the-spot assessment of the area.
Wike said: “This is most unfortunate. Those involved in this dastardly act will not go scot-free. The security agencies have been empowered to go after them.
“Everybody should remain calm as we are taking measures to ensure that our people are protected from such ugly attacks”.
He said that initial security report indicated that it was a cult-related violence, and wondered why the perpetrators would unleash mayhem on innocent persons.
He promised that his administration will build a police station and quarters in the area to check the activities of criminals as part of measures to forestall a reoccurrence of the unfortunate attack.
The governor said that government will assist the families of the deceased, and called on members of the public to cooperate with security agencies through the supply of relevant information to check criminal activities.
“We will not leave any stone unturned. We will fight the cultists to the point that they will know that Rivers State is not a safe haven for them.
“But we require the support of the public. The security agencies have given us the assurances that they will do their best. For some time, we have had relative peace before this unfortunate incident”, the governor said.
The Tide reports that the governor had personally led security agencies to demolish homes of cult leaders at Mgbuoshimini.
The governor was accompanied on the visit by Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zaki Ahmed and Commander, Nigerian Army, 6 Division Garrison, Brig-Gen K.N. Garba.
Chris Oluoh, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Sylvester Onyeazor
PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms
Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.
Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.
Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.
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