Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Procurement and representative of Rivers Senatorial District, Mr. Ohanna Andrew Uchendu, has declared that the administration of Mr. Neysom Wike, governor of Rivers State, is culpable in the spate of killings that has rocked the state.
Mr. Uchendu spoke against the background of the 1 January killing of 17 persons in Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, and seven persons in Egbeda, Emohua Local Government Area, by yet unidentified gunmen on Friday.
A statement issued by Mr. Solomon Okocha, his media aide, quoted the senator as saying that it is time for traditional and religious leaders in the state to condemn the raging spate of killings and plead with perpetrators to have a change of heart.
"What has happened in both Omoku and Egbeda is a clear confirmation of what some of us have been saying that the over-hyped state amnesty programme was merely a facade."
"The Wike-led government cannot at one hand wail and condemn the killings of Rivers people by cultists, and in another breath, pretend not to know that it is as a result of the haphazard, not-well-thought-out amnesty programme. My Ikwerre people have a common saying that the hen at all times must follow ant-infested firewood."
"The Wike-led government cannot absolve itself from blame in the incessant killings of harmless and defenceless citizens of Rivers State, until it stoutly rises up to its sole responsibility of protecting lives and properties, and that it can do in this situation, by swiftly nipping cultism in the bud, no matter whose ox is gored. May God help us," he said.
Mr. Uchendu added that the political leadership in the state has woefully failed in coming up with an all-embracing security architecture that would have reduced the bloodletting in the state. As such, he called on religious and traditional leaders to plead with the killers to have a change of heart.
"I am therefore calling on religious and traditional leaders to cry along with Governor Nyesom Wike, who has cried for too long, and possibly, these agents of darkness might heed their wailings and stop the escalating bloodshed in the land," he said.
He advised the Wike administration to halt the raging menace of cultism in the state. He advised individuals or groups in the state with grievances to direct such to the appropriate quarters, instead of resorting to violent self-help.