Neighbourhood watch: Wike accuses opposition of plot to float illegal vigilance groups

• Sets up committee on Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic grading 

Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused some opposition politicians of allegedly  plotting to set up illegal vigilance groups in the state.

Wike alleged that the opposition politicians want the vigilance groups to clash with the state Neighbourhood Watch,  to pave the way for the police to ban the new security outfit.

The governor said such political plots would fail, as the Neighbourhood Watch has come to stay.

Wike spoke yesterday, during a courtesy visit by  the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 6 Calabar, Usman Abubakar, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

The governor said the Neighbourhood Watch is strictly a security organisation that would support security agencies with intelligence to promote the state security.

He said only a court of competent jurisdiction can stop the Neighbourhood Watch.

Speaking further, Wike said the Neighbourhood Watch is fashioned in line with the operations of a similar agency set up in Lagos State, to support security agencies.

“In setting up the Neighbourhood Watch, we adopted the process established in Lagos State. This is a replica of what is already in existence in Lagos State .

“We are setting up the Neighbourhood Watch for intelligence gathering. Policemen and other security agencies cannot be everywhere. They need the relevant support to maintain security across the state.”

Wike announced that the government has acquired six gunboats for the state police command to fight criminals along the waterways.

He warned against the politicisation of security operations, saying that such actions would be detrimental to the stability of the country.

Governor Wike reiterated his advice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police, to work towards the successful conduct of the 2019 general election.

He said the police should not be used to indiscriminately arrest opponents of the ruling party ahead of the elections.

In his remarks, Abubakar said the Zone 6 Police Command has fashioned out ways to reduce cultism, kidnapping and violent crime in the area.

He urged stakeholders to work with the police to reduce crime ahead of the 2019 polls.

The AIG also called on all groups to come to a roundtable to work for peace, as the police will not tolerate lawlessness.

Meanwhile, Wike has disclosed that the government will set up a committee to examine the prospects of upgrading the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori into a University of Environment.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Khana- Gokana-Tai- Eleme (KALGOTE) group at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said the committee will study the possibility of setting up the University of Environment in the area, in view of present day economic reality.

He said the state executive council will discuss the idea of the university at its next meeting.

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Author: Uche Atuma