One of the key areas that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has performed exceptionally, is the promotion of security of lives and property. Though the state is yet to reach the desired point, marked improvement has been experienced by Rivers people.
At the commencement of his second term, Governor Wike initiated a comprehensive security platform to address the security challenges facing different parts of the state. This was a product of careful planning and implementation.
Right In the presence of all key stakeholders of the state at Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt on Friday, 26 July, 2019, Governor Wike made a major move to improve the security of lives and property across the State. Governor Wike launched a new Rivers State Security outfit code-named Operation Sting.
Operation Sting is an outfit that involves all the security agencies, working in unison to address security concerns in all parts of the state.
Operation Sting is fully funded by the Rivers State Government with the aim of tackling criminal elements and reducing crime and criminality in all parts of the state.
He "OPERATION STING” is therefore, our own specialized and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach, fully funded by the Rivers State Government to effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and nib them in their buds or rout and root them out of existence.
"Under Operation Sting we have taking concrete steps to strengthen the logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces".)
Governor Wike said to ensure that the new security outfit responds effectively across the state, his administration provided the right logistics and equipment.
"76patrol/operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets;
- 8armoured fitted gunboats, to tighten coastal security and protect our waterways from the activities of criminals;
- 2Armoured Personnel Carriers for Policeswift responses actions;
- 450 hand-held mobile radios to enhance communication among the security operatives and overcome the current wide gaps in intelligence gathering".)
The Governor said that the State Government has established operational bases in all the 23 Local Government Areas to strengthen the command and control structures of the initiative and ensure effective coordination and synergy between the State headquarters, the Local Government Areas and the communities to achieve the common objectives of providing comprehensive security cover for the our State.
He said: "To achieve quick, timely and effective response we have established 30 toll free emergency call centres with capacity to support and transmit 30 concurrent calls from the public during distress situations and or during ongoing criminal activities in or around our neighbourhoods".
Governor Wike said the operationalization of Operation Sting across the State is also expected to increase citizens' awareness and make the public to be more alive to the dangers of insecurity and their responsibility to be part of the present crusade to stamp this menace from the State . While appreciating the officers and men who will participate in the new security architecture, the governor said that the State Government has set up a fund to cater for their families, should they suffer any mishap in the course of service.
He acknowledged that the state has faced major security challenges in the area of kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery and community conflicts. He said that the state is not yet as peaceful as the administration desires, hence the renewed effort to stamp criminality.
He said: "It is this spirit that has led us to come to terms with the fact that insecurity, irrespective of the level of manifestation, whether big or small, violent or otherwise, is an insidious threat to our individual and collective development and prosperity.
"This being so, it is has become rather compelling for us to bring all elements of State power, Federal, State and Local, to bear against every security threat to our State, our persons and our property, including those posed by pastoral conflicts and kidnappers, in order to create and sustain the right social environment to drive our development."
Governor Wike specifically assured riverine communities that his administration will ensure their safety. He said that Operation Sting has been mandated to work on security in the waterways.
Speaking during the launch of Operation Sting, the Former Garrison Commander of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Adeola Kalejaiye said that the armed forces will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the security of lives and property in Rivers State.
He said that Operation Sting will act on all credible information from members of the public to ensure that the any form of insecurity is handled.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura said that the objective of Operation Sting is to get rid of criminals and reduce crime to the barest minimum.
The Commissioner of Police assured Rivers people that the logistics provided by Governor Wike would be used to fight insecurity in the state. He said in the next one month, the improvement of security will be noticed.
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo said that Operation Sting is an initiative of Governor Wike to promote security in the state. He said Operation Sting is another strategy by the Rivers State Governor to enhance the security of Rivers people.
Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amayanabo of Opobo, King Douglas Dandeson Jaja expressed happiness that Governor Wike has always given priority to the security of lives and property.
In separate interviews, stakeholders commended the Rivers State Governor for his commitment to the security of lives and property in the State.
Selected mobile policemen engaged in drills to highlight their preparedness to tackle security challenges in the state.
On 8th August, 2019, Governor Wike further strengthened the structure and responsiveness of Operation Sting.
The Governor handed over 40 Patrol Vans fitted with Communication Gadgets to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), See 4 Eye, Police Anti-Kidnapping , Police Anti-Cultism, Federal Road Safety Corps and Eagle Crime at the Government House Port Harcourt.
Speaking during the presentation, Governor Wike declared that the State Government is fully prepared to tackle insecurity and will do everything required to protect lives and property.
(Track "Rivers State Government is fully prepared and will do everything required to protect lives and property. Without the protection of lives and property, there will be no governance and development.
"We are one State that has suffered neglect from the Federal Government in terms of support to fight insecurity. They have refused to pay back funds that we used in constructing Federal Projects. But that will not stop us from intervening when the need arises", he said. )
The Governor said that he resolved to increase the support to the security agencies because of the successes recorded by Operation Sting .
Governor Wike also declared that the State Government proscribed all Youth Groups operating in the state because they have been hijacked by cultists.
He regretted that cultists have taken over youth groups across the State, necessitating the State Government to proscribe all Youth Groups.
He said: "Anybody operating under a youth body henceforth will be arrested by security agencies. Before you contest for any youth body's leadership, you must send the names to the DSS and Police for screening. If they are cultists, we will not allow them to operate.”
Governor Wike said that the vehicles and gunboats donated to the security agencies must be deployed to secure Rivers State.
He announced that the Rivers State Government will establish a Trust Fund to cater for the families of policemen who lose their lives while fighting crime .
In his remarks, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura said the security agencies will use the new security vans to tackle criminals across the state.
He said since the inauguration of Operation Sting, there has been improvement in the security of lives and property in the state. He said that security agencies will continue to dislodge criminals in all parts of the state.
The security outfit has ensured the promotion of peace in the state. Prior to the launch, the Emohua and Ogoni axis of the East West Road use to be flashpoints for kidnapping and armed robbery. That has been addressed. There are similar success stories in different parts of the State.
With improved security, law abiding citizens are carrying out their legitimate businesses, while the overall economy of the state has received a boost. Very importantly, the State Government is carrying out its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.