Security and the people’s welfare, the maintenance of law and order, are the major responsibilities of government everywhere. The provision of these basic functions to full capacity constitutes what is referred to as good governance, while the absence of them meant the opposite or failure of governance.
The issue has become a serious matter of governance worldwide to the extent that government’s budget across nation states begins and ends mostly with security. That is why in many countries of the world, especially the developing ones, laws or rule of law nor due process can sometimes be subverted to achieve the wider goal of securing a community.
Here in Nigeria, insecurity has become a plague, with every community of every state being affected. There is no state in Nigeria that is safer than the other, except that there are states that are more conscious and sensitive to it than the others, depending on the priority of the state in question.
In Rivers State where Barr Nyesom Wike is the governor, the management of security has been impressive more than many States of the nation. This is not because he has more money than all the states, but because he gave the sector serious and exceptional attention. Yes his state has more money than other states, yet some other states are richer than Rivers.
Regardless of how meagre the resources of a state are, sheer will determination to protect lives and property will create the difference.
The attention of MELTING POINT caught up with what is happening in Rivers this week because security is the most cherished item of governance these days in Nigeria. Without security life is scary and unpredictable. Insecurity has manifested itself in dangerous dimensions in the country to the extent that anything can constitute it, and anything can cause it.
No one is safe either on the highways, on the farms, in the house, places of worship, schools, market, cinemas, and so on. Everywhere one goes, the number one discourse centres around security or lack of it.
Back to happenings in Rivers State; Governor Wike took the bull by the horns when he took some drastic steps and actions to curb the rising insecurity in his state.
He alerted the people of stringent measures that needed to be put in place in response to the recent security challenges unleashed on the State.
He reiterated that those causing insecurity in the state must come to terms with the reality that Rivers State must be made too hot for criminals to invade at will and detonate attacks on targeted security posts and personnel and innocent Riverians.
He took the right steps by identifying the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
He ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East – West road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine security from these hideouts.
He destroyed all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the State.
Conscious of the economic situation of the country and with a human feeling that the people are not suffered in the process, he directed owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West road to vacate in advance, the area within two weeks as the State Government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.
He sympathised with the people on the economic effect these additional measures have or may have had on some of the people and other residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas, but as he observed, “the truth is that we are simply discharging our constitutional responsibility to advance our collective security with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments”. Security is security, he added.
He vowed to continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and that government will neither yield nor lower the tempo of its assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. He assured that the state shall not give in to any such pressure as the security of lives and property is more important to safeguard at all costs than the business or social interest of anyone else or group.
To ensure minimum and maximum efficiency, he warned the State Task Force on illegal trading and parking on roads, on the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens, threatening to deal with anyone caught compounding the troubles of the residents, having observed that the previous task force was disbanded on account of similar reports.
“We will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour. We wish to assure you therefore that severe action will be taken against anyone of them found to have acted beyond their powers or against the criminal laws of the country.
However, we wish to also appeal to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving on our streets.
The situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block my official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired”.
He assured the people that his duty is to serve and advance the peoples welfare. Even with happenings across our communities: abductions, kidnappings, Rivers State and perhaps Borno, Benue, Taraba, Bauchi and other states have gone very far in building the structures of security that can sustain amd deliver, protect and advance the cause of the people.
While Rivers and some dew states ate working hard to deliver security mandates to secure and serve the State with utmost dedication and advance the welfare and wellbeing of all residents, some states are toying with the issue.
Other States must emulate and follow the example of the River state’s governor by giving the needed and constant attention to security. It is not as easy thing though, but only compassionate persons with hearts of humanity like Wike, can go the extra miles to provide and protect the people.