Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state of planning to recruit cultists declared wanted for their alleged involvement in the New Year Day killing in the state.
Mr. Wike said the APC’s intention was to get the cultists – 32 of them – to join the party and later work for it in the 2019 elections.
Governor Wike made the allegation on Tuesday at a security meeting at the ONELGA Council Secretariat, according to a statement issued by the governor’s media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu.
“Nobody should play politics with the security of lives. Since we declared these cultists wanted, they (APC) have approached them to work with them,” Governor Wike was quoted as saying in the meeting.
“Whether or not they work with APC, they will meet their Waterloo,” he said.
He said the cult kingpin, Johnson Igwedibia’s reign of terror lasted throughout the time Rotimi Amaechi was the governor of Rivers, adding that his eventual elimination a few days ago was a proof of his administration’s commitment to the anti-cultism fight.
He vowed that Mr. Igwedibia’s younger brother, Oluchi, and other fleeing cultists will soon be tracked down.
Governor Wike said the manner that Mr. Igwedibia was killed by security personnel indicated that nobody could escape the long arm of the law.
The governor is said to have urged the people of ONELGA to work with the state government to ensure that peace was maintained in the area, so that the people could recover from the devastation.
The governor sympathised with the people and assured that the government was going to foot the medical bills of the injured as well as provide support to the families of those killed in the attack.
He said that the government would be set aside N50 million for the training of a one-year-old girl, Purity Anthony, whose parents were killed in the attack.
The APC in the state has, however, described Mr. Wike’s accusation as “laughable”.
The state Chairman of the APC, Davies Ikanya, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday, that some of the cultists in the state said on the radio that the governor was coming after them because they said that they had repented and decided not to “work again” for him.
“We have said to Mr. Wike, why are you mentioning names of some cultists and you have refused to mention the names of the kingpins. Everybody knows that Ateke Tom established the Iceland Cult.
“Instead of naming Ateke Tom as one of the cult kingpins in Rivers state and declaring him wanted, you made him a second-class king over a domain,” Mr. Ikanya said.
The party chairman said there were other cult kingpins serving as state lawmakers and local government chairmen because Governor Wike was comfortable working with them.
“Does it even make sense for us to want to recruit them now, when we didn’t recruit them for the 2015 election? We didn’t recruit them in all the re-run elections.
“The cultists have always worked for Nyesom Wike; Nyesome Wike has always protected them.
“All these things that Wike is doing is because Don Wayne is dead. Wike was protecting Don Wayne until he could no longer protect him. When Don Wayne was caught, he had to make sure that Don Wayne died so that his secret would not be revealed.
“When Rotimi Amaechi was the governor of Rivers State, he went after all the cultists in the state, all the cultists were on the run, they ran away to the creeks. Amaechi had zero-tolerance for cultism,” he said.
Both the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state have been engaged in a verbal war since 17 people were gunned down on the New Year Day in Omoku, in the state.