BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA
Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, has called on the Federal Government to take a critical look at the recruitment processes of security agencies to mitigate alleged issues of human rights abuses by security operatives.
Wike made the call on Tuesday when the Presidential Investigating Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligation and Rules of Engagement, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, expressed the hope that the panel will fashion out a sustainable mechanism to deal with issues of human rights abuses by security agencies.
He stated that it is unfortunate that across the country there have been alleged cases of brutality and human rights abuses by security agencies because of the activities of a few bad eggs, noting that in Rivers State the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has terrorised the citizenry to such an extent that the people are more afraid of SARS than armed robbers and kidnappers.
The governor further stated that the electoral rights of the Rivers people were undermined by security agents during the last election and expressed the hope that indicted persons will be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent.
He said, “You will get memoranda from us about the undermining of the electoral act by security Agencies. There is an urgent need to look at the recruitment processes, are they qualified?, are they patriotic?, do they have professional ethics? These are questions that are begging for answers.”
The governor said he believes so much in the unity of this country and will not support any secessionist agenda because God in his infinite wisdom has put Nigeria together as one and will continue to remain so.
He stated that the state is very peaceful because his administration has empowered the security agencies with the necessary logistics support to ensure the safety of the citizenry, noting that the State Boundary Commission and the relevant ministries and parastatals are also working round the clock to promote peaceful coexistence in the State.
Earlier, Chairman of the Presidential Investigating Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human rights Obligation and Rules of Engagement, Hon. Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill, had informed the governor that they have received memoranda from various stake holders and are now in Port Harcourt for the public sitting of the South South Zone.
Georgewill stated that the panel after successfully sitting in Abuja for the North Central and Maiduguri in the North East will sit between the 25th and 28th of September, 2017 and called on the people of the South South States to avail themselves the opportunity to make presentations.