Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt
REPENTANT cultists on Tuesday surrendered 911 arms, including AK-47 rifles and pump action guns, to the Rivers State Government in the just-concluded Amnesty Programme declared by the state.
This is as the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, also placed a ban on vigilante groups in the state after receiving a report that some vigilante members belonged to various cult groups.
The cultists also laid down 7,369 ammunition through the Chairman of the State Amnesty Committee, Mr. Kenneth Chinda, at the presentation of the committee’s report at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Speaking shortly after taking delivery of the cache of arms, charms and ammunition, Wike directed security agencies to go after unrepentant cultists, kidnappers and armed robbers in the state.
The governor pointed out that with the submission of the state amnesty report, the time for reprieve for cultists and other violent persons was over.
He called on the people of the state not to politicise crime and issues bordering on security, maintaining that the level of crime in the state has reduced.
On the ban on vigilante, the governor stated that those seeking to form vigilante groups should register with the state government before creating any of such outfits.
Wike said, “The state government is serious about security in the state and to show that government is serious, I hereby disband all vigilance groups in the state.
“A lot of people thought the State Amnesty Programme was a political game. Take a look at the number of AK-47 rifles surrendered. If 70 AK-47 rifles are in the wrong hands in this state, you will know that there is trouble.
“That you and I can sleep very well today is worth commending. I direct security agencies to go after those that have refused to surrender their weapons because the time for amnesty is over. We should not politicise crime or say that it is a party matter.”
He, however, said he would not renege on his promise to rehabilitate repentant cultists and make sure that they contribute positively to the society.