Tuesday, August 13, 2019 12:06 am
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Decision of the Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, to ban community based youth organisations in the state has continued to elicit reactions.
While some youth leaders in the state are backing the decision, others have rejected it calling on the governor to rescind the decision.
Chairman of civil society organization in Rivers State, Enefaa Georgewill, in an interview said the decision by the governor is an attempt to gag and cage the youths of the state.
He wondered where the governor derives the powers to ban the youth bodies from.
Enefaa who describes the problem solving approach of the governor as a ‘time bomb waiting to explode,’ noted that such attempts in the past was what led to the proliferation of cult groups in the state.
He further advised the Governor to deal with individual youths bodies and not to generalize, vow that Civil Societies in the state will stop at nothing to mobilize actions against the decision if it is not rescinded.
On his path, Gokana Local Government Area Youth President, Comrade Barusi Kaabee described the ban on youth organisations by Governor Wike as a right step in the right direction.
He said most leaders of youth organisations in the state are working hand-in hand with cultists and most times refused to give out information about cultists engaging in crimes in their area
Kaabee also urged the Governor not to limit the profiling of youth bodies to the Department of State Services, DSS, but to extend it to his Commissioners, Assembly members and Local Government Chairman alleging that most of them belong to cult groups.
He said most youth groups have been hijacked by cultists and cautioned that anyone operating under a youth body henceforth should be arrested by security agencies. Kabee also said the name of anyone who wishes to contest for any youth body’s leadership should be sent to the DSS and Police for screening and profiling.
Also, the National Publicity Secretary, Committee for Defence of Human Rights, Henry Ekine, a Lawyer, disclosed that as soon as Governor Wike starts the implementing the proposed proscription of youth groups, his organization and other human rights based groups will head to the cours to challenge it.
He said his group supports efforts of government to ensure e security of lives and property, but will challenge any policy that against public interest in the state.
According to Ekine”Civil Society Organizations and Humanrights organizations can go to court for public interest to redress to restrain the government or whosoever or howsoever that infringes on the rights of citizens. The government should be advised to recant or rescind that decision to Proscribes youth associations.
“If observe that any Community youth associations sought to organize themselves and they are held not to so by the reason of this pronouncement by then we will carry out public interest actions against the Government.”
It would be recalled that Governor Wike had on Thursday, August 8, proscribed all youth groups in state because of the allegation that they have been hijacked by cultists and criminally minded persons.
The Governor’s verbal pronouncement was followed by an official Government announcement signed by Dr Tammy Wenike Danagogo, Secretary to State Government,SSG, said: Anybody operating under a youth body henceforth will be arrested by security agencies. Before you contest for any youth body’s leadership, you must send the names to the DSS and Police for screening. If they are cultists, we will not allow them to operate, ” he said.