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Stay Away From Rivers Politics, RSG Tells Nigerian Army

Rivers State Government has called on the Nigeria Army to stay away from partisan politics so that they do not derail the 2019 general elections in the State.

The State Government made this call in reaction to the illegal disruption of the further selection and screening of applicants  to the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency at the State NYSC Orientation Camp, Nonwa in Tai LGA of Rivers State today by the officers and men of the Nigeria Army.

A statement issued in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications Barr Emma Okah described the actions of the army as an insult to the Government and People of Rivers State because it was unprovoked and unnecessary.

"We have every reason to believe that the action of the soldiers is politically motivated. Rivers State Government has always accused the Federal Government of working against the security interest of Rivers State and the brazen sack of a legitimate exercise of screening applicants for recruitment to assist in the fight against insecurity in Rivers State is self-evident" Okah said.

Okah regretted that the Nigeria Army acted wrongly at a time when President Muhammad Buhari has clamoured for community policing methods to support over-stretched conventional security agencies as canvassed by him through the Vice President during the 2-Day Summit on National Security organised by the Senate of Nigeria in February, 2018

"By the illegal actions of the Army, the Rivers State Government is constrained to believe that the Federal Government of Nigeria does not mean well for Rivers state. It shows that there are different laws for different states in Nigeria" he said

The statement further added that the Federal Government of Nigerian is involved in double standards on the issue of neighbourhood security outfits in Nigeria.

On 13th November, 2018, Zamfara State Government inaugurated the Civil Joint Task Force who are armed. Their photograph is reported in the front page of Guardian Newspaper of 14th November, 2018

Lagos State has the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps; Kwara State has Operation Harmony and Kano State has Neighbourhood Watch (Vigilante Group). Other States like Imo, Enugu, Edo etc have security support agencies which are the equivalent of the Rivers State's Agency.

"So where did Rivers State go wrong? Okah asked.

Intetestingly, before carrying out the screening exercise, the Agency had written to the Nigeria Army and other relevant agencies asking for drill and physical training instructors, security etc but the Army ignored the request and never advised against it but preferred an ambush.

The Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency is a body created by act of parliament to assist security agencies in local intelligence gathering and the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps etc are represented in the Board of the Agency.

Rivers State Government urges President Muhammad Buhari to call the Nigerian Army to order and avoid provoking the peace loving people of Rivers State. The nation has too many security challenges to contend with including the Boko Haram insurgency and incubating or courting another battle front will be against national intetest.

 

Emma Okah

Hon Commissioner for Information and Communications

29/11/18