The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has faulted the broadcast made by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike a day after a notorious cultist and kidnap kingpin, Prince Johnson Igwedibia, popularly known as General Don Waney was gunned down.
ALEDEH recalls that the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Southern Nigeria, confirmed Waney’s death on Sunday, January 7.
The General Officer Commanding the Division, Major General Enonbong Udoh who displayed the corpses of Don Waney alongside two of his gang leaders to reporters at the Division’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt January 7, said the deceased was tracked down at his new acquired residence in Enugu, Eastern Nigeria.
In a broadcast on Monday on the killing of Waney, Wike said the Rivers State Government has zero tolerance for crime and criminality, hence it will continue to take measures to protect lives and property.
The Rivers Governor declared that the State Government will amend the State Anti-kidnapping Law to prescribe death sentence for criminals involved in cultism, robbery and kidnapping.
“We reiterate our zero tolerance for all forms of criminality and reassure all residents of our determination to be tough with those who choose to violate our criminal laws and undermine peace and security in the State.
“To underscore the seriousness we attach to the fight against violent crime, we shall be amending the Anti kidnapping law to prescribe the maximum sentence for engaging in cultism, robbery and kidnapping”, he said.
Speaking further, Wike said the amnesty programme of the state government generated peace and was largely successful before it was allegedly compromised by the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who prevailed on the federal government and the security agencies to sabotage it.
“Our decision to offer amnesty to all repentant cultists, militants and criminals was done in good faith and in the best interest of the State. Regrettably, while the programme was on course, some opposition leaders in our state, especially the former governor, unhappy with the successes recorded, dissuaded some armed militants and cultists from sincerely embracing the amnesty.
“Indeed, they also persuaded the Federal Government not to support the programme and other security measures we had recommended. This is the reason why we must thank the President for doing things differently and with the support of all, a different result has been achieved”, Wike had said.
However, reacting to Wike’s broadcast in a statement issued on Tuesday night, January 9 and sent to ALEDEH, Dakuku said the governor’s Amnesty programme was not planned to end insecurity in Rivers State but to offer state cover to designated criminals.
“Gov. Wike made an unsubstantiated allegation against an unnamed “former governor and his ilk”, claiming they had interfered with the state government’s amnesty programme. Lies, no matter how long told, will never cover the truth which in this instance is that Wike’s Amnesty programme was not planned to end insecurity in Rivers State but to offer state cover to designated criminals for purposes known to their patrons”, Dakuku’s statement read.
In his broadcast, the governor had also listed 32 cultists from 12 local government areas to be arrested and prosecuted by the security agencies.
“The Rivers State Government will pay N20 million to any person who volunteers useful information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of any of the afore-mentioned persons”, the governor said.
Condemning Wike’s move, Dakuku said the governor’s speech is nothing but an attempt to massage a people already traumatised, who daily bear the marks of their bruised pride.
“The latest broadcast by Rivers State Governor in which he named and placed cash ransom on certain 32 verified notorious cultists, kidnappers, terrorists and murderers in 12 local government areas is a mere smokescreen to cover the failure of his regime to protect the people he swore to an oath to protect”, the statement read.
Dakuku alleged that the previous administration instituted a functional security architecture secured the state and made it inhabitable but Governor Wike abandoned the structure.
“Wike cannot deny that there existed a functional security architecture the previous Administration had instituted that secured the state and made it inhabitable. Being a key player in that Administration, at least, in its early days, offered him huge access into that structure. But Wike, rather than strengthen it, blew all away in his attempt to erase records of his predecessors.
“Wike’s speech was a warped absolution that presented those persons named as the reason the state had collapsed right in his hands. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that. The governor had a lot of grace period to have moved to save the several lives of innocent, law-abiding Rivers people and residents lost to the carnage and orgy of bloodletting imposed on Rivers State by criminals and their sponsors. What Wike has done, therefore, amounts to submitting to an admittance that he reneged on his oath of office, and so, had failed Rivers people”, the statement added.
The NIMASA DG stressed that the Rivers state governor must work with the Federal Government to end the security problem in the state.
“The best that Wike can do for the state at the moment, is to end this blame-game and sincerely, for the sake of the state, and for the memory of those whose lives had been brutally ended due to the state’s siddon-look, work with the Federal Government to end this tragedy”, Dakuku said.