Recently, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, ordered an investigation into the discovery of a “militia camp” in Rivers State but Nigerians are asking questions on what is the difference between this Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency and Zamfara State Hizbah which can arrest, interrogate and search residences, signed into law last May by Governor Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari
Yari, who signed the bill at the Government House Chamber, Gusau, said: ‘’In our determination to strengthen Sharia implementation across the state, I would like to use this opportunity to announce that immediately after this address, I will sign a bill that will give Hisbah Commission the power to arrest, interrogate and search residences or items where they suspect anti-Sharia activities or substances banned by Sharia are being kept.”
He then thanked members of the state House of Assembly for passing the important Sharia-related bill, which will help in further consolidating the position of the state in the implementation of Sharia.
Yari, who stated that his administration had never declined to sustain all the Sharia machineries and legal documents he inherited from the previous administrations, said his administration had extended investment to the custodian of the norms and values by undertaking the construction of a befitting modern Emir’s palace at Gusau Emirate Council.
Last Friday, Sani Usman, Army Spokesman, said in a statement that Troops from the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt discovered the “militia camp” on Thursday at the Nigeria Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp, Nonwa Gbam, in Tai Local Government Area of the state.
“We met over 100 recruits undergoing military-type of training inside the camp,” the army said.
Ten persons described as “operators” of the militia camp were said to have been arrested and handed over to the police in the state.
“The issue will be investigated diligently,” Mr Usman, a brigadier general, said in the statement.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it would continue to remain professional and apolitical in the discharge of its Constitutional duties.
“We reaffirm our determination to be responsive to the defence and safeguard of democratic institutions in this country and remain non-partisan in all our undertakings,” he added.
Rivers State, which is controlled by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has experienced several violence and killings in the past, especially during elections.
Meanwhile, Former President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that he would interface with President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure an amicable resolution of the impasse between the Army and the Rivers State Government over the state’s Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency in the interest of the security of the state.
He also commiserated with the government and people of Rivers State over the collapse of the seven-Storey building in Port Harcourt.
The former President, who was accompanied by his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, spoke yesterday at the site of the collapsed building at Woji Road in New GRA, Port Harcourt.
His words: “I will take it up with Mr. President to see how we will resolve the matter amicably in the interest of our people. “If you don’t have the cooperation of volunteers working with the security services, we will not be able to manage the security situation.”
Jonathan noted that when a state government is setting up a volunteer service to manage the security situation, the police and army within the state must give their maximum cooperation.
“If a state is setting up a volunteer service to manage the security situation, we expect cooperation from the police and the Army within the state.
“If there are any issues that should be cleared, I expect the Commissioner of Police and the General Officer Commanding to meet with the Security Adviser to the Rivers State Governor to discuss these grey areas,” he said.
He said managing security in the extremely riverine states required the contributions of locals in the form of volunteers.
“These are extremely riverine states. Apart from the Navy, 60 per cent of the personnel of the other security services cannot swim. Managing security in these states require the locals,” he said.
The former President said that as Deputy Governor to late DSP Alamiesegha, Bayelsa State had to set up the Bayelsa Volunteers to tackle piracy alongside the security agencies.
“When we set up the Bayelsa Volunteers, we worked with the Police to reduce piracy in the state. I have realised that without the locals, you cannot succeed in terms of managing security anywhere,” he said.
He stated that as a President he allowed the setting up of the Civilian Joint Task Force to work with the military to tackle Boko Haram insurgency, saying that the decision helped so much.