© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Wike not doing enough about cult related killings – Amnesty International
Residents say politicians always arming cult groups
NIGERIAN office of the Amnesty International (AI) on Thursday blamed Nyesom Wike, the River State Governor for his failure to protect citizens of the state, and stop persistent killings among rival cult groups.
The recrimination follows the death of 60 persons allegedly killed within 10 months in Khana and Gokana Local Government Areas (LGAs) due to cult clashes. Another five persons were reportedly killed two days ago in Rumuodogo, Emohua LGA.
Osai Ojigho, AI Country Director, in a report shared on the group’s website, however, blamed the state government for its continued silence on the matter.
She said the government has been ‘fuelling’ further cult clashes within the state, as no investigation has been conducted; let alone justice for the victims.
“The authorities have failed to bring those responsible for these horrific crimes to justice and have allowed a climate of impunity to fuel further violence. We call on the Nigerian authorities to take more robust action to stop these attacks by investigating every clash and bringing perpetrators to justice.
“The government has an obligation to defend and protect the people; its failure to provide security for people in Rivers state especially in Emohua, Khana and Gokana local government areas and its failure to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these killings created an atmosphere of fear and bloodshed in the region.”
Earlier, several persons have been killed in the state under Wike’s administration while the state government appeared incapacitated.
AI, therefore, raised alarm over the rise in cult-related killings.
“The failure of authorities to protect people from attacks and intimidation by violent gangs is leading to loss of lives and rising impunity that is making life precarious in some communities across Rivers state.
“At least 60 people were killed in 2019 alone in various communities of Rivers state, especially; Khana and Gokana local government areas,” the report states.
“Our findings show that the government is still not doing enough to protect people in these communities from attacks. The killers are literally getting away with murder, while no one is being arrested or punished for these crimes.
“The authorities have failed to bring those responsible for these horrific crimes to justice and have allowed a climate of impunity to fuel further violence. We call on the Nigerian authorities to take more robust action to stop these attacks by investigating every clash and bringing perpetrators to justice.”
The human right organisation emphasised that the killings had been on the increase due to the government’s inability to investigate and prosecute alleged offenders.
It also stressed how residents of the state accused influential politicians of providing arms and protections to the violent groups.
“Whenever there is an attack by the armed gangs, we usually call the police and other security agencies to come to our rescue, but they only arrive when the gangs have left. When they come, they will arrest innocent villagers, mount roadblocks and send security men to the villages, but after two weeks they dismantle the roadblocks and leave the community until another violent gang attack,” a resident of one of the affected communities told the AI.
In 2018, Wike pleaded for the Federal Government’s support but to date, the crisis persists.