by Mitchelle Uzorka
The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.
Governor Wike has urged anyone with useful information about the camps, gatherings, plans and activities of these criminal elements and their sponsors should forward it to the security agencies for action.
The governor gave the directive for the clampdown of cult groups, militants and political thugs hideouts in a state broadcast in Port Harcourt on Monday following the rising cultism and related activities across Rivers State.
“We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores.
“Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.”
He further added, “We are also aware that desperate politicians are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
“I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
“Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.”
The governor reiterated that no amount of syndicated misinformation, campaigns of calumny, and diatribes by a section of the media and the political elites will deter the State Government from enforcing the laws of the State against those who vainly claim to be above them.
“Unlike other States, we have refrained from using the State’s Neighbourhood Corps to enforce law and order by allowing the regular security agencies to do their constitutional work.
“We pray we may not be forced to reconsider this position if the security agencies continue to encourage and offer protection to some politicians and party leaders to wantonly breach our laws.”
The governor called on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the State, which are made to instill sanity and safeguard the public interest.
Governor Wike said the State has had generally peaceful campaigns except for the few isolated reported incidents of violence by sponsored rival cults, gangs and support groups in one or two political rallies.
He commended the security agencies for providing adequate security cover for all the political parties to carry on with their electioneering activities, including crowded rallies and meetings.
Governor Wike assured that State government will continue to support the security agencies to sustain the prevailing atmosphere of peace and security for voters to exercise their voting rights without fear or intimidation before, during and after the elections.
“I assure you that there is nothing to fear as the State government and the security agencies will spare no effort to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure for citizens to go about their normal daily activities.”