The people of Rivers state have been in a tensed state since last week when armed marauders murdered five police officers, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Muhammadu Halidu.
About six civilians were also murdered in the attack which took place at Okobe in Ahoada West Local Government Area.
Vanguard reports that the rampaging gunmen laid ambush for the police officers, attached to the 30 mobile Police Force, code-named 30 MPF, Bayelsa state, on their way back from a national assignment in Yobe state and stole their rifles after snuffing the life out of them.
Police spokeperson in Rivers state DSP Ahmad Muhammad, who confirmed the massacre, said: “We are deeply pained by the senseless and barbaric killing of our colleagues attached to 30 PMF Yenagoa, who were ambushed in the early hours of today (last Monday) at Okobe en route Yenagoa.
“The tragedy again demonstrates the enormous calamities witnessed in the course of our job. We put our lives on the line everyday to confront crime and violence in our communities.
We will stop at nothing to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice,” he said. A stray bullet from the gunmen killed a conductor attached to a trailer driver during the attack on the police officers.
In the same vein, the dust generated by the gruesome killing in Okobe had hardly settled when unidentified gunmen struck again the following day at Bori, headquarters of Khana local government area and the Rivers state judiciary complex in Port Harcourt.
On Polytechnic Road in Bori community, about three gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on three young men relaxing in an inn.
Two of them reportedly died on the spot, while the third, rushed to a hospital, gave up the ghost in the sickbay. Community sources said two belonged to the APC and the PDP respectively while the third was a student of the state- owned Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic.
The other attack was at the Rivers state Judiciary complex in Port Harcourt. The assailants sneaked into the premises in the wee hours and used hard objects to club three private security guards, who were still sleeping. It is not clear the exact time the incident occurred, but staff of the judiciary said it must have been within the hours of 2.00 -3.00 am.
Two of the guards died on the spot while the third escaped with deep cuts and at press time, was reportedly receiving treatment at the Police hospital in Port Harcourt.
Former Director General, State Security Service (SSS), Chief Albert Horsfall, condemned the spate of killings in the state, saying security agencies should spare no effort to end the impudence.
Horsfall, who spoke after a meeting of Rivers Elders and leaders Council, in Port Harcourt, said the ugly trend in the state was disturbing. He said it was clear some persons were determined to paint the state black, stressing that as elders; they would stand in defence of the state.
He further said they would write formally to the governor, suggesting to him why he should evolve structures to engage idle minds. Horsfall also enjoined youths to shun violence, saying it does not pay.
“We think we should defend our state to gain back stability for the state. We want peace to reign. People are trying to create an impression of instability in Rivers State.
Law and order must prevail,” he asserted. Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has said his government has mobilised security agencies to tackle challenges of insecurity all over the state.
The governor, in a statement, also ordered security agencies to deal with anyone behind security problems in the state, no matter his or her political affiliation.
In a related development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused Governor Nyesom Wike of being responsible for the spate of killings in the state.
The APC claimed the killings were politically motivated and called on security agencies to look into them. Vanguard reports that this came after Governor Wike was quoted as saying the Peoples Democratic Party was poised to take over power in 2019.
Mai Mala Buni who is the national secretary of the APC said in Abuja on Wednesday, May 11 that Wike’s comment was to shift attention from the atrocities he was committing in the state.
The APC called on the police and other security agencies to as a matter of urgency, to stop the breakdown of law and order which has resulted in mass killings and other forms of violence in Rivers state.
It further stated: “Meanwhile, instead of joining issues with Nyesom Wike’s idle 2019 postulations, the APC-led administration would rather concentrate on ongoing efforts to deliver all-inclusive development in the country.
“Commendably, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is already working assiduously to repair the rot caused by the PDP’s 16-year misrule and pillage of the country’s commonwealth.”
As killing continue to be order of the day in Rivers state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Rivers South-East Senatorial District in Rivers state rerun, Senator Magnus Abe, has decried the politicisation of crime in the state.
Speaking to newsmen, Abe who was quoted in Punch newspaper said crime in the state was festering because Governor Nyesom Wike and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state were playing politics with a serious matter such as crime.
“What is escalating crime in Rivers State today is the politicisation of crime. We should stop politicising crime. What is happening is too serious for politics.”
“You cannot call for investigation and at the same time, you are the one obstructing the investigation. What is important at this point is that government should encourage law enforcement agents to enforce the law,” Abe said.
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