That APC’s Claim On Insecurity In Rivers

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Apparently irked by the claim of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area that Rivers State is unsafe, the state government, penultimate Sunday, set the records straight by declaring that the state is not only safe but its indigenes and residents are also peaceful and have been co-operating with the government to develop the state and improve their living standard.
The government’s position was contained in a press statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barr. Emma Okah, in which he assured that the Chief Nyesom Wike-led administration will continue to do everything within its powers to secure lives and property in the state. The statement also urged people of the state to resist the tag of violence which the state’s enemies are working hard to hang on it for apparent political reasons.
The Tide recalls that the Ikwerre APC campaign organisation had hanged the recent gruesome murder of its organising secretary, Hon. Samuel Nwanjoku, and the unknown whereabouts of another of its chieftains, Hon. Moses Ogu, on the state government and went further to declare the state unsafe.
But the state government in its swift reaction debunked the APC’s allegation, saying “If the state were not safe, night life would have died, contractors will not execute projects, national and international conferences will not hold in the state, investment inflow will not increase, IGR will decline, those who are branding the state as unsafe will not be able to visit and move about and life will be sour and brutish in the state.”
We believe that the state’s information boss has said it all. Even though we join other well-meaning Nigerians to condemn these acts of brutality in Ikwerre LGA, we, however, take exception to the political colouration given to it by the APC. The fact that the main opposition party in Rivers State is calling for the declaration of a state of emergency in the very state that recently hosted the hugely successful Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention, NAFEST, notable sports meets and several other national and international events without any security breaches smacks of ulterior intentions rather than a demonstration of genuine concern for innocent victims of such atrocious acts.
We fear that slanting of such narratives is capable of inciting reprisal attacks, the type from which the Ikwerre LGA Chairman, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, and some PDP members on a voter sensitisation exercise narrowly escaped death last week, and for which he has asked the police to arrest a suspected kingpin, while urging his party loyalists to remain calm.
Like Nwanosike did, we expected APC leaders in the state to call on security agencies to rise up to the occasion by arresting perpetrators of the earlier incident rather than trying to smear a dog’s name in order to hang it. Granted that there has recently been an upsurge in reported gruesome killings and beheading of persons, particularly in Ikwerre and Emohua LGAs, but these have mostly been attributed to cult clashes by eye witnesses and even security agencies. We think that these highly localised incidents have not overwhelmed security outfits in the state and are, therefore, not sufficient to warrant a call by anybody or group for the declaration of a state of emergency in Rivers State.
Again, cases of insecurity are not restricted to Rivers State but are of national and international concern; Boko Haram insurgents are still killing and maiming people in the North East just as armed Fulani cattle herders have literally gone berserk elsewhere across the country. Yet a self-righteous opposition camp in Rivers State which has opted to be fixated on the state’s little share of what is already a national embarrassment pretends not to have noticed. That is why we believe that all hands must be on deck, including the detractors, to ensure that every criminal incident in the state is tackled promptly and efficiently.
We caution that playing politics with security issues portends grave danger to the socio-economic and political development of the state as it is capable of transmitting wrong messages about the state to the outside world. Politicising such heinous crimes also serves to divert the attention of investigators from the actual felons.
The Tide calls on APC members to direct their petitions to the security authorities if they have any concrete evidence to such political killings rather than coming to the public to make claims that can hardly be substantiated. We challenge the security agencies, especially the police, to live up to their responsibilities by swiftly going after the perpetrators of such dastardly acts and bring them to book to serve as deterrent to other criminally-minded individuals in the state and beyond.