A Civil Society group, the International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights (ISSJHR) has cautioned the Rivers State House of Assembly not to pass the law establishing the Neighbourhood Watch Corps.
Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt,on Wednesday, the Chancellor of the group, Dr. Omenazu Jackson, said that this was necessary because the Corps will not only engage in vigilante services but would bear arms.
He stated that care must be taken to avoid instituting a statutory band of terror in the state.
Dr. Jackson said that for such Corps to be established there are pertinent questions, which he said, have not elicited answers.
“Who and how will the boys be recommended for employment? Which ministry will they report to and under which civil service rules will they be subjected? Under which command will the Corps report to and who determines what misdemeanor are within the corps’ operations? Who vets the moral standards of these corps members since section 2 of the bill permits the corps members to carry fire arms (guns)? Will it not be counter productive since the national security systems are still active in their responsibilities of securing lives and properties? Is this not a total vote of no confidence on the nation’s security architecture? What is the role of our traditional rulers if youths will be armed in their domains to secure it? Is it not another attempt to subjugate royal fathers further and erode their powers and question their credibility? The effectiveness of our communal method of maintaining law and order had not been questionable, hence it outweighs all logic behind the Neighbourhood Watch Corps”.
The chancellor contended that the Corps was nothing but political thugs that will be used to subvert the electoral will of the people during the 2019 general elections.
He, however, advised that instead of overheating the polity with the establishment of such Corps with a whopping amount of N20billion, such funds, he said, should be channeled to revive West African Glass industry, Rivers Vegetable and Oil company (RIVOC), Port Harcourt Airport hotel, Delta Hotel, Michaelin Tyre company and the expansion of Rison palm estate.
This, he said would create employment for teeming youths and foster peace in the state.