The true face of violence in Rivers State is being viewed from three different almost mutually exclusive angles in the state. They are that of the government and the two major, rival parties in the state, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the opposition All Progressives Congress, the APC.
For the government, the APC is the source of persistence violence in the state be virtue of the alleged high rate of criminality and violence during the immediate past regime of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, something the current successor government is trying to redress through active engagement of all sectors towards the reinvention of state on accountability and due process. For the opposition APC, nothing could be father from the truth as it points accusing fingers at the current government as the sole source of recurrent crime and violence in the state.
The PDP’s position is little distinguishable from that of the government. In its accusation of the state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) of instigating the recent waves of crime and violence in the state, the government cited instances to justify its claim. According to Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity in a statement: “It has become clear that the security challenges rocking Rivers state currently is artificial and instigated by the All Progressive Congress in the state.
“The Governor Wike administration is aware of the ongoing moves by the said opposition to ensure that Rivers state is ungovernable so that the effort of this administration to realize economic prosperity and infrastructural transformation for Rivers people is not achieved.
“From both the secret and open activities and actions of the APC, it is obvious that it is seriously frustrated by the great success story of the Wike led government and so is working frantically hard to ensure that the state is BLACKMAILED as not being conducive enough, so as to scare away investors, but this will remain an effort in futility.”
Inko-Tariah pointed out that “Contrary to the running propaganda and falsehood by the said opposition, it is indeed the APC that is sponsoring this crisis so they can create an occasion to wrongly accuse the government. This is most unfortunate and sad but again it only portrays them as having nothing to offer other than to keep circulating lies and falsely accuse government just so they could create topics for themselves so as to incite their miscreant loyalists to continually cause unrest and artificial tension in the state.”
The statement maintained that the Wike led government is unrelenting in its effort to ensure a safe and secure Rivers state for investors to keep coming and for the state economy to keep thriving as it is currently doing.
In keeping with this mandate, it has enjoyed the full cooperation and support from the security Agencies for which the Government donated some 64 Vans and other gadgets to fight crime and criminality in the state; and so government wishes to commend them including the Nigerian Police Rivers state Command for their sacrifice and doggedness and success recorded so far to ensure that Law and order are observed in the state. “Governor Wike has renewed his pledge never to play politics with the life and property of Rivers people, including residents and investors.”
The government reassured everyone doing business in the state of full government support and the enabling environment needed for their investments to thrive. Reacting to the allegation by the state government, the APC stated: “It is mind-boggling to imagine how any individual with full control control of his faculties and who understands how the present government in Rivers State came into existence can make such vexatious, obnoxious, false and patently diversionary statement.
According to a statement signed by the APC State Publicity, Mr. Chris Finebone, “The PDP in Rivers State stole the mandate of Rivers people by arming cult groups and criminal gangs to kill and maim innocent Rivers people and residents, terrorising and making it impossible for voters to exercise their mandate during the last general elections.
The quest by the APC to get justice for the people through the tribunals is proceeding apace. “On the eve and day of swearing-in of Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State, the various cult groups and criminal gangs in red, white and black uniforms took over the streets of Port Harcourt, celebrating the ascendancy of their master, mentor and patron, Barr. Nyesom Wike. Ever since then, Port Harcourt and environs have not known peace.
“The situation has degenerated to the point that a couple of days ago, an armed gang stormed the Potts Johnson Street Health Centre, robbed patients and shot dead two security guards in the process in broad daylight,” Fine bone narrated.
The APC continued “With the fluid security situation in the state at this moment, the APC believes that a governor with any sense of decency would have reflected deeply and possibly repent and seek God’s face to help him disarm the various groups and gangs he armed for the last elections. Of course, he will not do that because he believes he will still need them for the re-run election looming. But he will learn the hard way.
“May be, Gov. Wike should be reminded that it is sometimes easy to give a monkey palm wine in a cup, but retrieving the cup is usually an uphill task. Governor Wike’s claims that the APC has a hand in the present violence and lawlessness in Rivers State is an attempt to divert attention from the challenge of managing criminal gangs he created, activated and funded for politics. No diversionary and self-delusionary statement will come to his rescue when the right time comes,” Finebone said.
The source of sustained violence and criminality in Rivers State may be hard to unravel as three different views on it are presented by the state government, the PDP and the APC, reports Tony Ita Etim in Port Harcourt captures the views of the the true face of violence in Rivers State