Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike, has blamed the international oil companies for the increase in cult activities in the oil-rich state.
Mr. Wike, who was reacting to the gruesome killing of 17 people in the state on the New Year Day by unknown gunmen, said oil companies in the state were awarding surveillance contracts to cultists who in turn use the money to buy sophisticated weapons to terrorize the communities.
The governor spoke on Friday when he received the visiting Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Mr. Danbazzau said he was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari to visit the state and assess its security situation because of the killing.
A Government House statement quoted the governor as telling the minister that the security agencies in the state knew the cult kingpins terrorizing various communities in the state.
“The security agencies have the profiles of all cult kingpins in different parts of the state and they know their locations.”
“There is no wisdom in the politicization of security. Insecurity can affect anybody. You can never know the next victim of insecurity,” Mr. Wike said, adding that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has failed to heed several requests made by the Rivers government for the deployment of special squads to tackle cultism and kidnapping in the state.
“The peculiar nature of Rivers State requires peculiar intervention,” the governor said. “Before now, I have been shouting that we need support to fight crime.”
The governor attacked politicians whom he said were using the killings to play politics and make false allegations against the state.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, who is an indigene of the state, said that cultism and cult-related killing thrived in the state because of the backing from powerful politicians.
Mr. Peterside also blamed Governor Wike whom he said lacked the capacity to tackle the security challenges in the state.
“I have said it time and again that Governor Wike lacks the capacity and competence to guarantee the safety and security of Rivers people.”
“It is unfortunate that over 1,000 persons have been killed in questionable circumstances in the last two years under his watch. He should stop playing politics with the lives of Rivers people and face governance,” Mr. Peterside said.