From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has alleged that two armoured helicopters worth over $10 million that the State government gave to the Nigerian Airforce to fight crude oil theft and sea piracy in the State have been diverted to fight Boko Haram.
Governor has also warned that the State would not hesitate to withdraw the gunboats it is about to present to the Army, Navy and Police, if they are deployed for use in other states.
He stated this at the presentation of 29 operational vehicles to the Police at the re-launching of the Rivers State security outfit code named, C.4.I, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Governor Wike explained that his administration has continually demonstrated its resolve to rid the State of criminality through provision of operational vehicles, gunboats and other forms of support for the security agencies.
He, however, expressed dismay that some of the equipment provided by the State government to support security agencies to fight crime were often diverted to other States at the detriment of Rivers State.
Wike expressed: “Let the Nigerian Airforce know that Rivers State government gave them two armoured helicopters. The former Chief of Air Staff never wrote to thank us. Which state has done it for Nigerian Airforce in this country? Not one. Even while he was former Chief of Air Staff, he never came here to thank us. But he was using our own armoured helicopter”.
He further continued: “Rivers State government paid over $10 million (for the armoured helicopters). We said it should be used to fight oil bunkers here. But, ask me, where are those helicopters today? The (Airforce) headquarters have taken it, saying they are fighting Boko Haram. But, we bought it to fight criminals here, to fight oil bunkers here, but they have taken it”.
Governor Wike said with the re-launch of C.4.I security outfit, the Rivers State Police Command should become more proactive in fighting crime.
He urged the police and other security agencies to take the war against criminality to the criminals.
Wike charged: “We must take the war to them (criminals); let them know that enough is enough. All those people who think they can collect money from contractors, who think that they can kidnap contractors and threaten people, you must go all after them. We can’t continue with this kidsglove. Enough is enough. Don’t allow them to kill your men before you go after them”.
The governor disclosed that in the next few weeks, the Rivers State government would donate more operational vehicles and equipment to the C.4.I security outfit to enhance their operations.
In addition, he said the State government will also give five gunboats each to Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Police to tackle sea piracy.
He stressed: “But, let the gunboats remain within the territory of Rivers State. I am not here to buy gunboats for any other state. I am buying gunboat for the protection of the people that do business and live in Rivers State and their property.
“Don’t carry our gunboat and say the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, IG said bring the gunboat to so, so place. Every state is to protect their territory. The day I hear you take our gunboats to other state, I will collect them back”.
The governor assured the police personnel attached to the C.4.I unit that if they loss their life in active service the State government would take care of their families.
“Let me tell you what I will do for people of C.4.I. If any of you in course of this work, in course of fighting crime and criminality dies, Rivers State government will take care of your family”.
He disclosed that the State government will soon deliver latest state-of-the-art equipment to the Department of State Services (DSS) to enhance their operational capability to track down criminals.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 16, Austin Agbonlahor, said the re-launch of C.4.I marked a new vista in the concerted fight against criminality.
He noted that security is expensive and commended Governor Wike for his continual support to the police.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Friday Eboka, said the 29 operational vehicles, 200 bulletproof vests and helmets provided by the governor would serve as moral booster for the personnel of the C.4.I, as they strive to reduce crime and criminality to its barest minimum in the State.
He warned kidnappers, cultists and armed robbers to have a rethink, as Rivers State is no longer safe for their nefarious activities.