Posted by Kelechi Nwaeze | 8 February 2018 | 1,534 times
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has fumed over the amnesty reportedly granted by Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to the militants who are wanted in Rivers State.
While reportedly granting amnesty to the militants on Tuesday in Owerri, Okorocha commended them, reminding them that he initiated the amnesty programme in Imo State two years ago to eradicate terror and every form of restiveness from Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta local government areas. He assured them he would forward their case to the Federal Government, assuring them also that his government would support them.
Governor Okorocha who claimed that terror is gradually leaving the oil region and charged the militants to be agents of change, further assured them of government support and protection.
The militants comprise three groups led by alleged lieutenants of the late Rivers kidnap kingpin Don Wanny – Emenike Agam a.k.a Baba Red Squad, Ngoni Group led by Onye Army a.k.a Uche Onyenna, and Egbema Marine, led by Justus Nmanwoke a.k.a General Ojoko.
In a swift response, Wike said that the amnesty to the group does not cover Rivers State.
Wike noted that the amnesty granted by the Imo State Governor to criminals who killed 23 persons in Omoku will have no impact in Rivers State.
Speaking during a bills-signing ceremony at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Governor Wike said the wanted cultists who are kingpins of the Don Wanny gang would be brought to book.
The Governor maintained that the N20m placed on their heads still stands, even as he said that the security agencies will be empowered to bring the criminals to account for their crimes committed in the state.
He condemned the action of Governor Okorocha, saying that it was a proof of the intelligence available to the Rivers State Government that the APC planned to grant amnesty to wanted cultists for political reasons.
He berated the APC and her officials for politicising security issues to the disadvantage of the rest of the country.
“Just yesterday, the Governor of Imo State granted amnesty to the cultists we declared wanted. These are cultists of the Don Wanny gang who killed 23 persons on New Year Day.
“These are cultists who have been killing security agents. That amnesty offered by Governor Okorocha cannot cover Rivers State.
“These criminal cultists are still wanted for their crimes against Rivers State and her people,” he said.
Wike added that it is wrong to introduce politics into security affairs because nobody knows what the outcome would be in future.
His words: “There is no need playing politics with the security of lives and property. Before Governor Rochas Okorocha granted amnesty to those who killed our people, he did not deem it fit to call me.
“They should always weigh the implications of these actions to the security of the region. Whether you are in PDP or APC, there is no need to politicise security.”
The Rivers State Governor further noted that despite the obvious political sabotage against the security infrastructure of the state, the State Government will continue to work towards improved security in the state.
However, Governor Okorocha has said he did not grant amnesty to the militants, saying that “Out of abundant caution, it is made clear that no amnesty or State pardon was granted by Imo State Government to any person or group of persons for any crime or crimes committed in Rivers State, Nigeria or any other part of Nigeria beyond or outside Imo State.”
In a press release by the Commissioner for Information, Prof Nnamdi Obiareri, Governor Okorocha said: “It is not the intention of Imo State Government to enmesh itself in needless controversy over this voluntary and successful disarmament exercise with Rivers State Government or anyone else as Imo State Government has not violated any laws or breached any protocols or security codes in granting State pardon to militants that operate within her territorial jurisdiction.”
He reiterated that “Imo State Government lawfully granted State pardon to Ohaji/Egbema militants that operate around the Awarra Court Area of Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo State.
“The state pardon was granted as part of the continuous effort to restore permanent peace in Imo State and the entire Niger Delta region because these boys have been responsible for ceaseless oil pipeline vandalism, kidnappings, loss of lives and properties in the Awarra Court Area and entire Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta oil producing communities of Imo State.
“The Security Council of Imo State made up of the Army, Police, SSS, NSCDC and others took the decision to grant State pardon to these repentant militant boys on 5 February 2018 after they voluntarily and publicly surrendered their large cache of arms and ammunitions and confessed to sundry crimes they committed in Imo State.
“It is public knowledge that for a long time now, Imo State has been having zero cases of insecurity and as a responsible and responsive Government, the State Government in league with the State Security Council will do everything lawful and within its powers to continue to secure the lives and properties of Imolites and residents alike.
“At all material times, Imo State Government stands prepared and ready to co-operate with or share security information and strategies with Rivers State and or other neighbouring states on effective and mutually benefitting ways and means of combating trans-border crimes and criminality and promoting good neighbourliness.”
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