How Rivers can contain abductions, others through security outfit, by expert
To effectively stem kidnapping, cultism and other criminal activities, the Rivers State Government has been urged to authorise the immediate take-off of its community policing outfit, the Neighbourhood Watch.
A security expert, Colonel Chinedu Owhonda (rtd), who gave the advice, said the state should integrate the operations of the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Security and Advisory Planning Committee (OSPAC), which was instrumental to the arrest and killing of a notorious cultist, Johnson Igwedibia (aka Don Waney) as well as restoration of peace to some parts of the state.
Owhonda observed that security in the state had improved tremendously since Governor Nyesom Wike launched the state’s new security architecture codenamed Operation Sting which has been synergising with the Department of State services (DSS), police, military and OSAPAC.
“What the government can do further is to make sure that the Neighbourhood Watch which was established last year and which has not taken off, must take off so that they can partner with other security agencies like the DSS, the police, the military and other agencies that are on ground to fight insecurity in the state,” he said.
The retired military officer expressed dismay that some vested interests were playing politics with security of life and property by “thwarting the efforts of the state government to critical address pressing security challenges faced by various communities in Rivers state.”
He insisted that the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch, established by an Act of the state legislature, should immediately commence its operation “because states in the South-West geopolitical zone and others have already in existence their respective security outfits that compliment the efforts of the federal security agencies.”
Owhonda added: “At the beginning of the first and second quarters of last year, so many roads that are exiting points in Rivers State were impassable because of cult related clashes, kidnapping, assassination and robbery being perpetrated by youths.
“The Choba, Rumuekpe, Ali-mini road was impassable for sometime. The Ubima by-pass was impassable; the Elele- Rumuokoro road was also impassable. So, it was detrimental to a lot of people. Now that security has been put in place, let us see how this Neighbourhood Watch that has been put in place by government will synergise with other security agencies.”
The expert noted that the since the formation of Operation Sting, security had remarkably improved along major roads where kidnappers and armed robbers terrorised commuters.
He however, emphasised that if the Neighbourhood Watch becomes operational, it would not only help create jobs, it would also compliment the efforts of the security agencies and boost investors’ confidence in the state.
The ex-military official encouraged the state government to take into cognisance the tremendous contributions of OSAPAC to the security of Obio-Akpor, Ikwerre, Emohua, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni and Ahoada council areas of the state and integrate it with the state security outfit.
He lamented that the waterways, which were the primary responsibility of the Marine Police and the Navy, had been of grave concern to residents due to their alleged ineffectiveness to protect lives and property on that gateway.
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