Emmanuel Masha Port Harcourt Governor Nyesom Wike said his administration would give N20 million to the families of each of the 11 police personnel killed by gunmen during recent attacks on police formations in Rivers State.
The governor, who announced this when he paid a condolence visit to the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, and officers of the state Police Command, however, said that no amount of money could equate to human life.
Wike, who said that the gesture was aimed at assuaging the bereaved families that their loved ones never died in vain, described as heart-wrenching the unwarranted killing of policemen who were legitimately protecting lives and property of citizens of the country. Addressing officers and men at the Police Officers Mess in Port Harcourt, the governor said his visit was to commiserate with them over the death of some of their colleagues in line of duty while protecting the state. He said: “In the past two to three weeks, we have lost 11 police officers and men. This is a dark period for us in the state.” The governor regretted that those who carried out the dastardly killings had cold-heartedly turned the wives of the slain policemen to widows and rendered their children fatherless, for no just cause.
Wike charged the state Police Command to be more proactive to wardoff further attacks, and resolve never again to condone the killing of its personnel by those bent on instigating a crisis in the country.
The governor reiterated that no amount of vicious attacks or intimidation could compel Rivers State to become part of any secession agenda.
According to him, the people of Rivers State believe in the unity of the Nigerian state.
He said: “We must be united to fight for this country to be one. We must not allow anyone to talk about secession. If you want to secede, Rivers State is not part of it, and nobody can cow Rivers State to be part of it. Not under my watch will I allow that.”
The governor, who assured the state Police Command of the government’s continuous support, however, charged police personnel to be more careful and vigilant.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Friday Eboka, on behalf of the Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, thanked the governor for assuaging the pain of the bereaved families. Eboka told the governor that the armed men, who attacked three different police formations, gruesomely killed seven officers.
According to him, two officers who sustained bullet injuries are still receiving treatment.
He said: “It is noteworthy that the hoodlums did not escape without suffering fatalities, as two of them lost their lives and their Hilux, riddled with bullets, was abandoned; thanks to RRT Commander and other Tactical Teams who responded to the distress call.”