As people in Rivers State prepare to celebrate Christmas, it's important security should be in place to prevent criminal activities and ensure safety of life and property of people in the state.
Christmas is a period of celebration and people engage in different activities to celebrate the day. While some travel to other places to celebrate Christmas, others organize parties, visit parks and other interesting places to celebrate the day which comes once every year. After Christmas, there'll also be New Year celebration which marks beginning of another year and people are expected to engage in all kinds of activities: go to parties, throw parties, visit zoo, go for shopping and do such other things which interest them to mark the day which also comes once every year.
There could be large concentration of people in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State capital, and other parts of the state but unfortunately there could also be high rate of crime in this period as bad elements in society think the period is opportunity for them to rob and break into people's homes or make all kinds of trouble.
While it's true Christmas is period of celebration as is New Year, it's also true people get apprehension when the festive seasons approach. This is because it's one period bad things happen and it's one time crime could be at highest because of desire to make money and be part of celebrations. In this case, bad elements in society do not think it wrong committing crime.
Sometimes, it's in periods like these that markets are set ablaze in acts of arson or goods belonging to traders are looted and there is no end in number of crimes that could be committed in this period by bad elements in society.
So as we celebrate Christmas and New Year, there's so much the Rivers State Police Command should do to ensure hitch-free celebrations. It is our passionate appeal that the State Police Command should do everything it can to prevent crime in this season and maintain law and order not only in Port-Harcourt metropolis but also in other parts of the state.
The State Police Command should provide security and ensure criminals will not operate in the festive season. Those who travel for Christmas and New Year should come back to see their property are intact. To ensure this happens, the Rivers State Police Command should increase patrol along streets in Port-Harcourt and give directives where this also happens in local government areas of the state.
In doing their job, police must ensure they avoid any corrupt practice and do their job professionally as they provide safety for people in the state including those who travel in the period on waterways. As we expect the police to increase patrol on land, we expect them also to increase patrol on waterways to prevent attacks by sea pirates.
The police should take measures to prevent arson - the deliberate act of setting fire to property - and must ban the use of firecrackers in the festive season. Police must ensure that people do not use firecrackers to attack people. Firecrackers scare most people and could also cause severe injuries and even lead to fires in buildings. This is in addition to the fact that they pollute the air when used.
The State Police Command must deploy officers throughout the state to check crime in the festive season and its assurance that it will deploy officers in strategic places in the state must not just be in words but in action. We believe it's the duty of the police to prevent crime and protect life and property and are expected to redouble their efforts as they carry out these functions in the festive season.
We recall that the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, said in an interview that police have drawn up operations order for the festive season to ensure there won't be breach of peace in the celebrations.
In the interview, the police imagemaker said: “We have drawn up our operations order for the season. Our operations order is a document that contains our deployment for the season in which case that order contains our deployment on the waterways, our deployment in the metropolis and our deployment in the hinterland. So the people of Rivers State are going to witness increased police presence”.
He also said: “We have covered religious houses, worship centres, fun centres, vulnerable points like banks (and) critical government infrastructure to ensure that there won't be breach of the peace in these celebrations”.
These are reassuring words and we only hope that the police will act on them and provide the needed atmosphere for peaceful celebrations of the Christmas and New Year.
The police must ensure public places are safe and peaceful and must see they are in place to pick up those who want to make trouble. As they do this and carry out other functions in the festive season, our appeal is that they do so with civility. They must particularly increase their presence in hotspots in the metropolis and other parts of the state throughout the festive season and it must be said that those who do their work in traffic during the festive season should do so professionally and not see it as time to make money.
As Christmas and New Year celebrations last, the police should be proud to say they have done a good job - preventing crime and protecting life and property -before, during and after the festive celebrations - and this is just performing their job!