From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said the state government would give N20 million to the families of each of the eleven police personnel killed by gunmen during recent attacks of police formations in the state.
The governor announced this on Monday during a condolence visit to the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, and officers of the Rivers State Police Command, tasking them to be on offensive against those who perpetrated these heinous acts.
Governor Wike, while addressing officers and men at the Police Officers Mess in Port Harcourt, said his visit was to commiserate with them over the death of some of their colleagues who lost their lives in line of duty while protecting the State.
He acknowledged that, although no amount of money could equate to human life, the state’s gesture was aimed at assuaging the bereaved families that their loved ones never died in vain.
The governor described as heart-wrenching the unwarranted killing of policemen who were legitimately protecting lives and property of citizens of the country.
He noted that ‘in the past two to three weeks, we have lost 11 police officers and men. This is a dark period for us in the state.’
The governor lamented that those, who carried out the dastardly killings had coldheartedly turned the wives of the slain policemen to widows and rendered their children, fatherless for no just cause.
Governor Wike charged the Rivers State Police Command to be more proactive to ward-off further attacks, and resolve never again to condone the killing of its personnel by those who are bent on instigating crisis in the country.
The governor reiterated that no amount of vicious attacks or intimidation can compel Rivers State to become part of any secession agenda.
He maintained that the people of the state believe in the unity of the Nigerian State.
Wike charged: ‘We must be united to fight for this country to be one. We must not allow anyone to talk about secession. If you want to secede, Rivers State is not part of it, and nobody can cow Rivers State to be part of it. Not under my watch will I allow that.’
The governor, who assured the Rivers State Police Command of the government’s continuous support, however, charged police personnel to be more careful and vigilant.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Eboka, on behalf of the Acting Inspector General of Police, Alkali Usman, thanked the governor for assuaging the pain of the bereaved families.
Mr Eboka told the governor that the armed men who attacked three different police formations for no justifiable reason gruesomely killed seven officers. According to him, two officers who sustained bullet injuries, were receiving treatment.
‘It is noteworthy that the hoodlums did not escape without suffering fatalities, as two of them lost their lives and their Hilux riddled with bullets was abandoned. Thanks to RRT Commander and other Tactical Teams who responded to the distress call.’
He stated that in spite of the ugly developments, officers and men of the State Command will not shy away from their responsibilities.
The CP expressed: ‘Your visit today, will further boost their morals. I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to re-assure the good people of Rivers State of our resolve to continue to protect their lives and property.’