By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria


Today, Rivers State stands as one of Nigeria’s safest destinations  for business and leisure.  It has turned out as Nigeria’s  centre of conferences, international meetings  and  religious  programmes  because of the secure environment.
Between  2016 and 2017, more than fifty National and International Conferences held in Rivers State.  This vote of confidence  in the security framework  of  the state attracted  over 200,000 high class visitors at different times.
In terms of financial statistics, these conferences and meetings injected billions of naira into the Rivers economy. Hotel accommodation, commercial transportation, souvenirs trade and small scale food vendors experienced economic prosperity.
Some of the major conferences and events held include: The 2016 NBA Annual General Conference, the 2016 Magistrates Association of Nigeria Conference, two PDP  National Conventions, West African Golf Tournament, 2017 National Council for Agriculture, Rotary International Conference, West African International Conference and  Nigeria Guild of Editors Conferences.
Only recently, the state-wide Rivers Golden Jubilee attracted thousands of Nigerians  to the state without any untoward incident.
This secure environment  is the outcome  of   the  high level  investments in the relevant  architecture  by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
Over the last two years, Governor Wike  initiated and signed into law the anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. The law gave the security agencies the legal instrument  to tackle  kidnappers and cultists .
To strengthen  the security  architecture of the state; Governor Wike  in the course  of the last two years, has distributed over 150 security  vans to all the security  agencies in the state  to fight crime.
The Wike administration has also procured six armoured personnel  carriers, while 50 broken down armoured personnel carriers have been rehabilitated by the Rivers State Government for use of security agencies.
The administration  has  restored and sustained monthly  subvention to security  agencies.  This is significant because the immediate  past APC administration in the state  failed to release  funds to security agencies for over three  years.
To improve  marine security, Governor Wike  procured  and handed over 8 Security Gunboats  to the Nigerian Navy. The process of the acquisition  of  13 more security  vans for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Police has been  activated  by Governor Wike.
More than 20 security gunboats  have been rehabilitated by the Wike administration  and put to use by the security agencies operating in the state.
Cooperating with the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, NNS Pathfinder, the Rivers State Government  completed residential  quarters  for Naval personnel at the Naval Base in Rumuolumeni.
As a popularly  elected governor with immense love for his people, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in liaison with security  agencies and security  experts worked out  a unique  amnesty  programme  to enthrone lasting peace  in the state.
Prior to setting up the committee that drove the amnesty programme  directly on the field, Governor Wike personally led by example.  He led security operatives to the homes and shrines of identified cultists and kidnappers in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, where their hideouts  were destroyed, acquired  by the state government and deployed for public good.
For sixty days,  the Rivers State Government  initiated and implemented a different  variant of the Amnesty programme .  This variant was built on the  platform of integrity , transparency, accountability and voluntary  participation .
The  State Amnesty Programme has been very successful.  At the end of the first phase  22, 430 cultists accepted amnesty and surrendered 911 assorted arms with 7661 assorted ammunitions and 147 explosives. This has made the state relatively peaceful.
Governor Wike personally  supervised the public destruction of all the arms recovered. These arms were burnt in the presence of journalists.
As a man of peace, launched  the second phase of the Amnesty Programme specifically dedicated to the Ogoni speaking local government areas.
Security Beyond Propaganda
The improved security situation in Rivers State can only continue to  get better. There may be a few security infractions , but the solid security framework established under the leadership of Governor Wike has ensured that Rivers State remains the only state without major pipeline vandalism, while other economic activities continue  without obstruction across the state.
The fundamentals of safety and security attained in Rivers State have reached a level where sponsored propaganda cannot negatively affect the rapid development of the state.