His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has declared that his administration is working with security agencies to tackle rising insecurity and cultism in the four local government areas of Khana, Gokana, Eleme and Tai in Ogoniland.
The Governor who summoned stakeholders in Ogoniland comprising political leaders, traditional rulers and youth groups at the Government House Port Harcourt for the security meeting, said the government was deploying all necessary machinery to restore peace in the troubled area.
He said: “All of the persons involved in cultism are known by the community leaders. We are coming after them to restore peace to the Ogoni communities.
“This time, no effort will be spared. Attention is on the Ogoni area to check the rising insecurity. All through yesterday, the State Security Council met and resolved on the best way to tackle the cultists”.
The Governor charged community leaders to also work out modalities to tackle cultism, saying that the state government would give them full support to achieve desired results.
He warned against the illegal removal of government recognized Chiefs by unauthorized persons. He said such illegal actions lead to conflicts that degenerate into insecurity and regretted the situation in Eleme where a government recognized traditional ruler was illegally removed by some unauthorized persons.
Governor Wike said that the state government was taking measures to reach out to traditional rulers who are not recognized by government, so that they can contribute to the promotion of security in their respective communities.
The Governor, however, noted that part of the problem in Ogoniland is the planned resumption of oil production. He said that he had received a letter from the National Security Adviser on the commencement of production at OML 11 noting that he was not duly informed on the process.
He added that going forward, the state government and Ogoni people should be carried along on the OML 11 issue, saying that dialogue would yield better results.
He said: “I got a letter from the National Security Adviser. Part of the problem is OML 11. I have written back to them and said you did not inform me when you were going there. If you want to go into a community, tell me as a Governor. But even if there will be, we need to sit down and resolve issues.
“I have told the Federal Government that they cannot use force in doing everything. We need to sit down and resolve issues. As a government, we are losing revenue no doubt, but the people must be involved so that everyone is part of what is happening. I will not support anything that will make Ogoni people not to benefit from their resources. I will not do anything to betray the people who have given me their mandate. I will never do that”.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel urged the people to support the security agencies to fight insecurity. He called for confidential information to help the security agencies track down cultists in the Area .
He said cultism is not a way of life, but a criminal action that would be checked by the security agencies.
Chairman of the Supreme Ogoni Council of Chiefs, King Godwin Giniwa assured the governor that Ogoni people would support his drive to promote peace and security in the area.
It would be recalled that, cases of dethronement and enthronement of traditional rulers are common occurrence is virtually all the ten clans in Eleme, the most recent being Ogale Clan where His Royal Highness, Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi was purportedly dethroned and in his place, His Royal Highness, Appolus Chu enthroned.