26th June, 2019
The Andoni Youth Coalition (AYC), a pressure group in Rivers, has urged youths in the state, especially of Andoni extraction to shun criminality.
The group said on Tuesday in Port Harcourt there was the need for the youth to embrace education so as to attract development to the area.
The President of the group, Mr Mkpon Ijonama, made the plea on Tuesday while addressing newsmen on the release of three Lebanese construction workers kidnapped two weeks ago in Andoni Local Government Area of the state.
Ijonama also begged the state government to employ proactive measures toward tackling rising insecurity in Rivers.
“I’m aware of the release of the three Lebanese construction workers kidnapped two weeks ago on site at the Andoni section of ongoing Ogoni/Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro unity road,” he said.
The foreigners were confirmed to have been released in the morning of Tuesday by the Rivers Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Nnamdi Omoni.
Ijonama said that following rising insecurity in the state, it had become imperative for the state government to collaborate with security agencies and traditional rulers to train and support community policing (vigilantees groups).
“The solution to tackling the rising crime rate in the state is achievable if the government can borrow a leaf from Abia which used its local vigilantee (Bakasi boys) to end activities of dreaded criminal gangs in Abia.
“Remember the case of Bakasi Boys and the criminals in Abia
“You can see that with government support, the Bakasi Boys years ago were able to restore sanity to Abia s and that ended the security challenges that once haunted that state.
“And at the time when peace was fully restored, “the government withdrew support and disengaged them.
“I’m of the opinion that such measure be adopted to nip in the bud the rising insecurity in our dear state,” he said.
The youth leader also cited Omoku town, in the oil rich, Ogba/Egbema-Ndoni Local Governemnt of the state as another case study where local vigilantes effectively ended a long term security crises.
“We can also use Omoku as a case study, when about two years ago, Omoku was always in the news for bad reasons until the youth of the area decided to come together to form a vigilantee group, called OSPAC.
“Today Omoku, a once unsafe area is back on track as these vigilantes have been able to curtail crime in the area.
“I don’t see anything wrong if the state government adopts this strategy to restore peace to Rivers,” he added.
Ijonama also said that in trying to establish state security, the government should not politicise its recruitment process.
“The government should channel recruitment process through ttraditional rulers, they should nominate credible youths across the local government areas
“The state government can as well partner with security agencies to train these youths and empower them to serve in intelligence gathering to assist security agencies fish out criminals in any part of the state,” he said.