As the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and security operative continue to ponder on possible ways to deal with the security challenges in the state, some well meaning citizens have been giving suggestions on the way forward. Here, Mr Alex Ibeawuchi, a former caretaker committee chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area shares his opinion. He spoke with EDITH CHUKU.
How do you feel about the security situation in Rivers State?
I feel disappointed. It's disheartening. I wonder how those perpetrating this evil feel about what they are doing, how they feel, what goes through their mind when they carry their gun, go into the streets, people's houses, pull the trigger and end the life of their fellow human being. When they carry out such devilish inhuman activity, how do they feel? When they tune to the radio, television, read newspapers and see the evil they have done, do they feel satisfaction or guilt? What has Rivers state done that cannot be settled through dialogue? Must lives be taken to send a message? How can a message be understood if not said in plain language? They should express themselves and let peace, stability return to Rivers State; we desire nothing more; they should stop this and free themselves from their masters, if there be any.
Speaking of masters, do you see this to be politically motivated?
My dear, we are not interested in apportioning blames, it is of no one's interest to start accusing politicians. What Rivers people want is a stop to this cruelty and for those involved to be apprehended for this. It will be unwise to play politics of blame when the safety of lives and properties of Rivers people are involved; even the devil knows that this is evil.
Everywhere in Rivers state is deeply affected. What do you think is the reason behind this?
Like I said earlier, it's not a matter of assumption. I can't say this or that but all I can say is that it's high time a stop is put to this and I am sure the governor is doing everything possible to achieve that. So, the chairmen, chiefs, community heads and good people of Rivers State should follow suit.
So, do you think Wike is doing enough to curb the situation?
Yes, he is trying to the best of his knowledge; he is putting in all possible measures known to him to end this whole menace, so I will say that he is. The governor has held countless meetings with chiefs in all local government areas, community leaders, chairmen, security operatives to deliberate and proffer solution to return peace, stability to Rivers state. For the past weeks, all you hear him talk about is security and that can only come from a man who has the interest of his people at heart and understands the difference between politics and governance. So, Wike, to me is doing the much he can.
You mean he is trying and the situation is worsening rather than yield results?
It is indeed very sad that a state as Rivers state found itself in such crises rocking situation that has bewildered the entire security operatives in the state. It's also sad for this to be happening at a time the governor is expected to invest these four years to do more of what he has been doing for the betterment of Rivers State. It is also a very sad distraction that rather than celebrate the victory granted to Governor Wike by the good people of Rivers State, we are pondering restlessly over severe threat to the security of lives and properties of Rivers people, but I am very much convinced that this nightmare will soon be over.
Amidst these crises, how is Oyigbo faring?
Oyigbo is safe, very safe.
In Oyigbo we have executive chairmen and elected councillors, the issue of security is rightly divided as a collective responsibility. It's of top priority, the fact is, safety is the ultimate assurance you must give for development to thrive. Without assured security or safety, investors will not come. It will be on shut down, places will be deserted, areas isolated, so you see, if you give a people security, then you have given them a platform to get better and as they get better, the community, local government, state and country will get better. But if the reverse becomes the case, the opposite will follow. That is what the chairman, councillors and every other person is working to ensure and we are appealing to security operatives in our area and Rivers State at large, to be at their best.
What idea would you like to give that could aid in the fight against insecurity in the state?
Well, first, let me appreciate the state government, security operatives and all involved in ensuring that safety and a serene environment is restored, I will also want to add that they should do more, as long as people's lives and properties are involved. Nothing is enough, you just have to stay alert and keep coming up with initiatives. The little I can add is that local government chairmen should always liaise with security operatives; they should synergise and not wait for things to get out of hand before they come in. Security must be uptight at all times, no loopholes, no break, steady and constant security system to checkmate crimes and criminalities. Vigilantes should be encouraged. People should be engaged and continually sent out on surveillance in every community to get information on perceived security threat, and those apprehended and found guilty should be made to face the law. I can't say best but am very sure these will help.