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Protesters demand take-off of Rivers State safety corps agency

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Enraged by growing insecurity, recruits of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency (RIVNESCA) have demanded the operationalisation of the agency.

Several members of RIVNESCA stormed the Government House, Port Harcourt, to protest the delay in the take-off of the agency amid prevailing climate of fear of insecurity.

Spokesperson of the aggrieved RIVNESCA recruits, Amatari Bipeleda, who said they were infuriated by the spate of criminally-induced killings in the state,regretted that after being screened for training at the Camp, the Army had invaded the camp and disrupted the exercise and dispersed them.

He said that the excuse given by those who instigated the military incursion was that the agency was to be used for the conduct of the 2019 general elections. And since the elections are over and the state is faced with growing security challenges, the agency should be allowed to become operational.

“We are at the Government House, Port Harcourt, to register our dismay over the non-existence of the agency that has been passed into law,” he said.He said that the state government should expedite the immediate take-off of the agency to restore hope to Rivers’ people as insecurity is now on the high side in neigbourhoods in the state.

Another RIVNESCA member, Emmanuel Okpara, advised the government not to encourage illegal armed vigilance groups, as this was an indirect way of promoting crime in the state.“Giving arms to former cultists will plunge the state into a major insecurity. By the time you empower these boys, it will be very difficult to recover arms from them,” he said.

The Camp Commandant, Government House, Eric Efe, who addressed the protesters, assured them that Governor Wike remains committed to the take-off of the agency now that the elections are over. Efe, who said high-level power-play truncated the planned operationalisation of the agency last year, charged the recruits not to be dispirited but be hopeful that they will soon begin operation to main law and order.

However, chieftains of the All Progressives Congress in the state had expressed reservation that RIVNESCA, which the government had described as people-oriented security platform designed to complement the efforts of security agencies in curbing the prevailing security challenges in the state, was set up for the purpose of the 2019 general election.

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