Wike declares war on cultists, kidnappers

•Declares state amnesty programme closed •22,430 cultists surrender 911 arms, 7,661 ammunition, 147 explosives

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has announced the conclusion of the first phase of the state amnesty programme, declaring a total war on unrepentant cultists and kidnappers across the state.

The governor, who disbanded all vigilance committees in all communities in the state, also directed security agencies to henceforth go after all cultists and kidnappers who refused to voluntarily accept the amnesty offer of the state government, pointing out that his administration had zero-tolerance for crime and criminality.

Wike spoke at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, during the submission of the report of the state amnesty programme by the state amnesty committee which had its membership drawn from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Police and the Department of State Services (DSS).

According to the committee report, 22,430 cultists accepted the amnesty programme and surrendered 911 assorted arms with 7,661 assorted ammunition and 147 explosives.

The governor said there was no more room for repentance for other unrepentant cultists and kidnappers, having failed to embrace the amnesty programme initiated by his administration.

Describing the programme as successful, the governor said the development had made the state relatively peaceful.

“For those we have given the opportunity, but they refused to embrace amnesty, I direct the security agencies to go after them. The time for amnesty is over and we are going to take the war to them,”  he said.

The governor said the state government resolved not to monetise the amnesty programme because it wanted the cultists and kidnappers to sincerely embrace it, but assured all the repentant cultists and kidnappers that they would be duly rehabilitated and made to become useful to the society.

Presenting the report, chairman of the committee, Sir Kenneth Chinda, said it adopted a direct dialogue approach by establishing direct, honest, transparent and sincere contacts with leaderships of the various groups through a discreet confidence building process.