Troops of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army on a routine surveillance on Thursday discovered what it called an ‘illegal militia training camp’at the NYSC Orientation Camp at Nonwa Gbam in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to a statement issued by the Army through its Deputy Director, Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, over 100 recruits were seen undergoing military type of training before their arrest.
“Preliminary investigation into the discovery has commenced in conjunction with sister security agencies in the state to fish out the sponsors of the militia and the training camp,” the statement said.
While recalling that similar illegal militia training camps were discovered and disbanded in Benue and Taraba States earlier in the year, the Army assured that measures have been put in place to forestall any breach of security and ensure safety of citizens.
Reacting to the development, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike alleged that the Nigerian Army has been transformed into a political weapon that has abandoned her security responsibilities.
Speaking at Odiokwu, Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state on Thursday while flagging off the construction of the Model Primary Healthcare Centre, Wike described the disruption of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Training Programme by the Army as the worst act of irresponsibility aimed at creating insecurity in the state.
“The Army is not concerned about the killing of soldiers in Borno. They are only interested in creating insecurity in Rivers State. If you don’t want Rivers State to be safe, then Nigeria will not be safe,” Wike said.
The governor cited the fact that Zamfara and Kogi states have vigilante outfits which were commissioned by the Nigerian Army and the APC-led Federal Governmen and wondered why the Nigerian Army would stoop so low as to disrupt a legal training exercise.
“Zamfara and Kogi States have vigilante groups. They commissioned them and the Chief of Army Staff did nothing. The House of Assembly passed a law approving the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.
“The Chief of Army did not challenge the law in court but today he sent troops to invade the training camp.
“The Army is the agency causing insecurity mainly to attract more security votes. They collected $1 billion from our excess crude account yet our soldiers were killed.
“All they are after is to intimidate people for political reasons. When you fight a state blessed by God, you will crumble. Nobody can intimate us in Rivers State.
“We did not hire boys for political reasons. This has been a transparent process and that is why the personnel are trained at the NYSC Orientation Camp at Nonwa.
“We involve the Police and the DSS to ensure that the trainees are profiled for the good of the society. The main aim of this agency is to assist security agencies with intelligence and information since there is a lacuna in this regard,” he added.
Wike therefore declared that the State Government would continue with the training, stressing that the antics of the Nigerian Army would not deter the government and people of the state.