Director General of the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Administration, NIMASA, Dr.Dakuku Peterside, has termed the latest broadcast by Rivers State Governor, Ezebuwon Nyesom Wike, in which he named and placed cash ransom on certain 32 verified notorious cultists, kidnappers, terrorists and murderers in 12 local government areas as a mere smokescreen to cover the failure of his regime to protect the people he swore to an oath to protect.
He said “that speech is nothing but an attempt by Wike to massage a people already traumatised, who daily bear the marks of their bruised pride. The agony of this situation is exacerbated by the knowledge that while Rivers burnt and roasted, Wike cared less.”
Gov. Wike in the broadcast had declared 32 cultists wanted and asked the security agencies to go after them, putting a bounty of N20m each for information that could lead to their arrest.
The total reward is N640million, N440million more than what the governor offered for the arrest of Don Wani, the kidnap kingpin and cultist, linked with the killing of 23 people in Omoku on New Year’s Day.
According to Wike, 32 cultists remain in 12 local government areas in the state and had reneged on the terms of amnesty offered them by his government. He listed them and said he wanted all of them arrested and prosecuted by the security agencies, pledging all assistance necessary.
But Peterside said there is need to scrutinise, “Wike’s allusion that because he visited the families of the bereaved in Omoku and pledged N200 million ransom on the alleged killers on New Year Day, the chief suspect, Johnson Onyedibia, aka Don Wani, was gunned down.
“The fact is that in a state where a sitting governor values the lives of subjects, such calamity would have warranted a visit same day. But it took Wike days and that was after he had been informed that President Muhammadu Buhari, was sending the Interior Minister to visit Omoku. So, in the face of this even Wike’s visit to Omoku belies sincere grief for the families.
“As always, rather than own up to obvious failure, Gov. Wike made an unsubstantiated allegation against an unnamed “former governor and his ilk”, claiming they had interfered with the state government’s amnesty programme. Lies, no matter how long told, will never cover the truth which in this instance is that Wike’s Amnesty programme was not planned to end insecurity in Rivers State but to offer state cover to designated criminals for purposes known to their patrons.
“The best that Wike can do for the state at the moment, is to end this blame-game and sincerely, for the sake of the state, and for the memory of those whose lives had been brutally ended due to the state’s siddon-look, work with the Federal Government to end this tragedy.”