Editorial: Why the declaration of state of emergency on East-West road should not excite anyone.

In what seemed like another choreographed dance of shame, the Rivers State Police command declared a state of emergency on the Emohua axis of the East-West road. In its usual rhetorics, the police named Ndele, Rumuji and Rumuekpe axis of the road for the state of emergency due to increased robberies, kidnapping and killings in those areas. Also, the police advised commuters to avoid Umudioga, Egbeda, Ubima and Omoku roads at 1800hrs.

The Rivers state police command has bagged up mountains of accolades for inefficiency for this is not the first time the command is declaring a state of emergency on the road.

It is worth reminding the command that it also declared a state of emergency on the road on the 6th of February 2019. While declaring the state of emergency, the image maker of the command, Nnamdi Omoni, said that: “We have made massive deployment of policemen, uniform and plain cloth to that axis. We have also sent men to creeks, bushes and villages to tap on intelligence gathering.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to forestall incessant and wanton killings of commuters and security personnel in that axis.”

“Please for your safety and safety of your loved ones avoid Omagwa to Ubima and Owerri or Isiokpo to Ubima.

“Anything that will make you enter through Ubima going to Owerri especially from 6 pm in the evening should be avoided.

“From Elele to Umudioga, Egbeda, Ubima, and Omuku road are no go areas in the evenings due to high profile kidnappings.

“From Bayelsa to Port Harcourt divert to Elele Alimini to Elele Isiokpo and proceed to Port Harcourt. Avoid Elele-Ndele Rumuji-Emuoha-Choba -Port Harcourt.

“Please stay safe. Kidnappers are on the rampage. On a daily basis, they practically blocked the East-West Road from Elele to Emuoha axis. Stay safe.”

“We are also investigating our men who have been on that axis.

“We have gone back to the drawing board to critically examine our mode of operations and come up with acceptable lasting solutions.”

However, a few days after the state of emergency was declared, the police abandoned the state of emergency it so declared while hoodlums continued to rule supreme on the road.

From then till now, countless persons have been robbed, kidnapped, killed on that road while police personnel are busy extorting commercial drivers along major roads in Port Harcourt.

One felt that with the coming of Usman Belel as CP, things would change. This was based on the promise he himself made during his maiden press briefing on the 4th of January 2019 where he said: “Under my watch as the police boss in Rivera State, I will ensure that illegal arrests and detentions do not occur.

” I came to fight crime, and will make sure that crime and criminality will be reduced to the barest minimum”.

But has crime and criminality reduced in the state? The shocking answer is NO! Criminals have been running rampage in the state. Cult-related killings have become the norm, beheading and dumping of severed heads on the road are rising daily. Kidnap of oil workers, killing of police officers, police brutality, extortion and killing of innocent persons by police officers as occured in Elimgbu; mass arrests as is the case in Iriebe have become the order of the day. What exactly is the police doing? How many persons have been arrested? Who are behind the cult killings? How is the police tackling the menace?

The recent declaration of a state of emergency on the East-West road should not excite anyone yet until the police truly do its jobs of securing lives and properties. In Rivers State, everyone is living in fear while police officers are busy collecting money from road users.

How posterity will judge CP Belel is left for him to decide.

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