THE Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, has assured that the Nigeria Police Force will never allow, cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers to take over Rivers State.
Arase, who was reacting to the current battle between men of the Rivers State Police Command and hoodlums in the state, explained that the police would not relent until armed bandits were apprehended and brought to book.
The IGP gave this assurance on Tuesday during his visit to the state to commission 64 utility vehicles and 12 motorcycles donated to the police command by the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
He noted that the Nigeria Police Force had never allowed cultists, kidnappers and armed robbers to overwhelm it since its existence in the country.
He said, “There is no way you can allow criminal gangs or cult groups to overwhelm the state. It has never happen in the history of any law enforcement agency and I think it will not happen in the Nigeria of our time.
“Do not allow these cultists to take over the state for obvious reasons. Socio-economic development cannot take place in any society if the society is not safe and secure.
“I want to also tell you that the one month state of emergency that was declared is not enough to sanitise the security situation in Rivers to my satisfaction. For that, I am going to extend it by an extra month. I am not unaware of the inconvenience this may cost you; sleepless nights, responding to internal security disorders. But it is something you have to do.
“Once you are able to make sure that the society is properly secure, then you can sit down and actually call yourselves security officers. But if you don’t do that, then what you are saying is that you allowed kidnappers, cultist groups and armed robbers to take over the security space of Rivers State and that, we will not allow to happen.”
On the illegal proliferation of firearms in the system, the IGP added, “You people must get information and get those things out of the place. Nobody is above the law and in your conduct of policing, I am going to stand by you once you are straight, once you are firm, once you are bold.”
Arase, who later paid a courtesy call on the state governor, attributed the upsurge in crime and proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in Rivers to the aftermath of the 2015 general election.
He assured Wike that his men would intensify efforts towards mopping up illegal arms and ammunition in the system.
Commending the governor for supporting security agencies in the state to fight crime, Arase said, “You will agree with me that the post-election was getting the state into a state of anomie. About a month ago, I posted a new CP to the state to bring sanity to Rivers.
“In the past one month, we have seen the achievements so far, but we need to do more. I heard that you (Wike) have been contributing to the security of the state. I want to assure you that we are going to work assiduously to ensure that Rivers does not degenerate to a state of anomie.
“We are also aware of the proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition and we are making efforts to mop them up. I thank you for your support to the Nigeria Police.”
Responding, Wike promised to dole out the sum of N5m to the family of any policeman that loses his life in the line of duty and N1m to anybody that would give useful information that would lead to the arrest of kidnappers and armed robbers.
The governor said, “Before now, kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery have been the order of the day. I want to say that I am getting the full support of security agencies and we are working as a team.
“The strategy of taking the war directly to them (criminals) is the best approach and we appreciate this. Part of the problem we have is that the families of security agents who die while fighting armed robbers are not getting the necessary support.
“This government will motivate security agencies to fight criminals and once a law is put in place and once you are a kidnapper we will seize all your money and property and we have a reward for anybody who gives useful information that will lead to the arrest of kidnappers.”