Wike: How to protect citizens, assure security
Three recent dramatic incidents involving the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, have proved that it is possible to protect the citizens and assure security if the authorities really want and are committed to doing that.
But because they are not committed, they continue to pontificate and politicise the issue while criminals of all descriptions take the upper hand. The insincere negative attitude of the authorities across the country has left Nigeria in the throes of insecurity of lives and property. Nobody is safe anywhere.
Everything about security or insecurity is action. The perpetrators of insecurity are action-packed. They are armed and determined to accomplish their mission any time. They don’t joke. They don’t preach to themselves about what to do. They know their mission and go straight to accomplish it. Kidnapping, attacks and killings of hapless citizens, robbery operations, rape, abductions, etc. are commonplace.
The only way to counteract these nefarious actions is to match force with force. It is a pity that government appears incapable of protecting the citizens. The criminal gangs appear to have the upper hand everywhere. But of recent, Governor Nyesom Wike appears to have realised the solution, which is action. His prompt action in the three incidents in reference yielded noteworthy positive results.
Within a space of three months, Governor Wike has shown, in no small way that he is the chief security officer of Rivers State and is there to protect the place no matter what.
I am not interested in the politics of these incidents; I am not judging whether or not what the Governor did was right or wrong. My interest is in the security aspect. The fact that the Governor saw what he considered to be a threat to the security of his people and acted to restore sanity is my interest.
On April 7 or thereabout, Governor Nyesom Wike reportedly arrested two pilots at the Air Force Base, Port Harcourt who flew a Carveton Helicopter with their ten passengers into the state for contravening the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
The Rivers State Police Command had reportedly received intelligence on their illegal flight into the state and alerted the Governor who promptly surfaced at the airport to arrest the crew and their passengers.
Barely a month later, around May 9, Governor Wike demolished two hotels in Obio-Akpor and Port Harcourt local government areas in Rivers State again for flouting an Executive Order issued by the Governor on COVID-19 lockdown. The demolished hotels were the Prudent Hotel, Alode, in Eleme and Etumeteh Hotel in Onne.
Wike had charged the State COVID-19 Task Force to identify hotels that were still operating during the lockdown and erring beer palours for demolition.
He said, “From tomorrow, move in. Any hotel that is still operating, identify it and we will bring down the hotel.” And true to his words, those hotels that flouted the order were brought down.
But the most dramatic of Governor Wike’s actions was the rescue of the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joi Nunieh from house arrest and possible abduction.
According to reports, some armed police operatives had laid siege at the house of the embattled Joi Nunieh, apparently, with intent to abduct her.
Governor Wike, on getting the information stormed the house with his own security operatives to counter the abduction. Wike reportedly forced his entry into Nunieh’s house and ordered the police officers out of the premises and put the woman into his own car and drove to the Government House. Joi Nunieh was saved the embarrassment and possible risk to her life.
The foregoing three actions of Governor Wike have made him what the Igbo call “Agu ne-che mba,” the lion that guards the community. I am particularly provoked by the rescue of Joi Nunieh.
Looking at it graphically, here is a Governor, whose territory had been infiltrated by “enemies,” and one of his subjects was in danger of being abducted, which was an urgent security challenge.
There were two options left to Governor Wike in the circumstance. The Governor could have chosen to start making phone calls to the Commissioner of Police in the State, or turned to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Abuja or even placed a call to President Muhammadu Buhari, or even the Chief Judge of the State, all in an attempt to ascertain whether the invading police officers at Joi Nunieh’s were there legally with a search/arrest warrant.
The other option was to give the matter the urgent attention it deserved by storming the place. Even at that, Governor Wike could have directed the Commissioner of Police, the State Security Service and other security operatives in the state to rush to Joi Nunieh’s house to see what was going on. Unnecessary protocol.
Of course, the security operatives wouldn’t have done anything to rescue the besieged Nunieh, as the invading agents would have claimed to be acting on orders from “above.”
If Wike had chosen the second option of placing calls to people who couldn’t do anything at that critical moment, Joi Nunieh would have been abducted and the story would have been different. We don’t know what the intention of the besieging police officers was.
But Governor Wike, the Agu ne-che mba, chose to personally act as the chief security officer of the state, which he is. Without wasting time, he stormed the place to manifest his authority.
And, as would be expected, the invading police officers surrendered once the Governor appeared on the scene. I must commend the police officers for according respect to the Governor without resisting him. That could have led to exchange of fire and possible bloodshed.
As the Governor, Wike’s authority supersedes that of the police officers. He is the number one citizen of the state and his command is final. The president and all the governors have that authority which could be applied to curb insecurity.
As if in a thriller, Wike bravely waded through the siege, took Joi Nunieh by the hand and led her to his official car. The invading police officers merely watched in consternation as Governor Wike took full control of the situation and the siege ended unsuccessfully. Governor Wike frustrated the siege as Joi Nunieh was rescued.
Since the Joi Nunieh/Wike and other dramas took place, I have come to the conclusion that there is ravaging insecurity in the country because the authorities have not decided to end it apparently for selfish reasons. The truth is that all the insecurity ravaging the country could end in a swift or be drastically reduced if the authorities so desired. But they have not decided.
For instance, the country is divided into 774 local governments that constitute the grassroots. Each local government council has a chairman and several traditional rulers presiding over the autonomous communities. There are also ward chairmen.
Given this arrangement, there shouldn’t be hiding place for criminals. The killers, robbers, kidnappers, rapists, etc, are people who live in the local governments that have authorities governing them. Why then is it impossible to root out criminals? The answer is simple; the authorities have not decided to act accordingly.
If the Wike attitude could be replicated in all security situations, the country would have a breathing space. But until then, let the authorities continue to pay lip service to insecurity. Thank you Governor Nyesom Wike. You impressed me.
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