The Neighborhood Watch and Safety Bill was signed into law by the Rivers State Governor on Thursday. There were two other bills that were equally signed into law on Thursday: the anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism bills which proscribed harsh penalties for culprits.
This was despite mounting criticism by the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC, which said, among other things, that the bill is an attempt by Governor Nyesom Wike to equip a private army.
The concerns raised by the APC are cogent in a way but there is no need to cry foul over the bill if it will not be used for political expediency.
Is there a sincerity of purpose as regards the bill?
Theportcitynews.com reckon that the Governor had before signing the bill, asked the opposition to seek redress in court as the court is the only means through which the bill could be stopped.
However, Theportcitynews will like to point out some troubling issues surrounding the bill vis-a-vis composition and methodology.
How are the members of the Corps going to be recruited given the pervasive nature of politics in the state at the moment?
How are they going to be made to remain apolitical in the face of mounting pressure?
Who would screen these Corps members to ascertain whether they have criminal backgrounds that would hamper effective discharge of their duties, especially in a country where records are done with the moment that they are kept?
How do we ensure that they do not abuse the powers conferred on them?
How do we ensure that they become loyal and do not become objects for public nuisance and bully?
All these questions and more should be put into consideration as progress is made as regards to the bill.