GOVERNOR NYESOM Wike of Rivers has reiterated the resolve of his administration against payment of cash to kidnappers, cultists and armed robbers that surrendered their weapons. The governor, who said this in Port Harcourt at a stakeholders meeting on how peace could be restored in the state organised by the Rivers State Police Command, insisted that such payments would encourage subsequent illegal acts. ‘’Rivers State does not have the intention to give cash (pay) to repentant criminals; government will rehabilitate and empower them,’’ he said through Mr Austine Tam-George, Commissioner for Information and Communications, and denied that cash was paid to the repentant criminals who surrendered their arms. He said ex-criminals, who are being trained in various fields, would be empowered after the training programme and noted that with empowerment; the ex-criminals would earn legitimate income and live a more meaningful life. Wike said the state had received N2 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for the establishment of small and medium scale businesses, adding that business could only thrive in an atmosphere of peace and security. Mr Francis Odesanya, the State Police Commissioner, assured that the command would mop up the large quantity of arms in circulation in the area. He lamented the killing of innocent persons with arms, adding that stop and search exercise would be conducted at flash points to mop up the arms in the state. Odesanya assured the meeting that the command would clamp down on kidnappers, armed robbers and cultists in the state. According to the police commissioner, a data base of known criminals would be established to clamp down on kidnappers, armed robbers and cultists in the state.

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