Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent any attempt by any group or individuals to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers was too hot for them to invade at will and carry out their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who spoke in state broadcast on Friday, said that the state government identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provided cover and comfort for hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
He said: “This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West road to vacate the area within two weeks from today 11th June 2021 as the State Government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said government was mindful of the economic effects the ongoing measures would have residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, emphasised that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets or political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers remained till further notice and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing.
He said: “We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized.
“As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he had received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on illegal trading and parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force, who crossed the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving.
He frowned at a situation where some motorists had the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official convoy.
He directed the management of the State’s Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filth within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.