Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps has come to stay in the state, noting that opponents of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps should approach the courts for redress.
Wike stated this during a courtesy visit by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rivers State at the Government House Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, Rivers State chapter declared her support for the Neighbourhood Safety Corps set up by Governor. They stated that it will help resolve the security challenges in the state.
Governor Wike said he will not be moved by the negative propaganda, blackmail and politicization of security by the APC.
“I assented to a law constitutionally passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly and they say I must be punished for carrying out my constitutional responsibility. I prefer that I have done my work, so I can die than not doing it and still die. What are they afraid of that they are telling people that they will carry arms. Look at what the law says. If you are giving out information, criminals will come after you. They will not carry arms without the approval of the Security Agencies,” he said.
“They are now trying to politicise the whole outfit. The law has come to stay. If they don’t like it, the courts are there for them to challenge it. Rivers State Government was not the first state that initiated Neighbourhood Safety Corps. It was started by Lagos State Government. When criminal activities became so much in the state, everyone focused on prayers and did everything humanly possible to support security agencies. When I took over in 2015, they repeatedly changed Commissioners of Police. I bemoaned the incessant changes that disorganised the security architecture of the state”.
The governor further said;
“That was how they planned to declare State of Emergency in Rivers State. They claimed there was so much crime. I cried for help, but they refused to help. I told them that God sees their refusal to help and it will lead to national crisis. What is happening today? We are no longer talking of kidnapping, we are confronted with killings everyday in different parts of the country. Whether you call it Fulani versus farmers, community versus community, whether you call it terrorists or whatever colouration you want to give it, killings everywhere.”
Wike noted that under the Presidential System, the Legislature passes a law, while it is the constitutional responsibility of the governor to assent.
“They thought they want to paint Rivers State black, now Nigeria is black. If they had come to our rescue to support us then, if they had not played politics with the security of Rivers State, maybe God may have forgiven. But because they thought we have nobody, they shot their eyes. This Neighbourhood Safety Corps, we just went to Lagos, studied what Lagos State did and replicated it here. Federal Government never said anything against Lagos State. Today, security has gone beyond carrying of guns. We must have to get intelligence. We must be proactive. We don’t have the number of security men that can cover all the communities. We adopted what Lagos State. We are employing men and women who are committed to make sure that this state is safe. These young men and women will give intelligence to security agencies and work in synergy with them,” he said.
He described allegations that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would be armed to attack opposition elements as baseless and thanked the Christian Association of Nigeria for their support for his administration, saying that he will not let them down.
“But for the prayers of Christians, the state would have been subdued by challenges. It would have been very difficult for us to carry out our assignments. The state has been persecuted for no just reason,” he said.
However, Wike reiterated the need for Christians to register in their numbers, so that they can positively influence the political direction of Rivers State, adding that INEC has nominated a resident electoral commissioner who has not been screened, but the nominee knows that he will be deployed to Rivers State.
Rev. Dan Obinna, while presenting the position of the Rivers State Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, noted that Rivers Christians are happy with the performance of the Rivers State Governor.
He commended Governor Wike for the execution of projects that impact the lives of the people positively.
“We use this forum once again to congratulate you on your execution of projects that positively touch the lives of the people”, Director of Legal Affairs of Rivers State Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev Dan Obinna said.
He also commended the Rivers State Governor for the numerous national and international awards and urged the governor to sustain his outstanding performance.
“We join all other progressive people to say that the Rivers State Governor has done well. We knew it from the beginning, that was why we started the spree of encouragement when we awarded you the Apostle of Peace. We commend you on your frontal approach on the issue of security in the state. We especially commend you for the establishment of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, which is your most recent strategy in handling security matters in the state,” Rev. Obinna said.