Formula for peace: Why killers, kidnappers steer clear of Okrika in recent times

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Rivers State is daily cast in bloody and agonizing mold from brutal crimes and bestiality but Okrika that used to be in the news some years ago has not once been mentioned in this. From all of Emohua to Ahoada, Elele, Ikwerre, Aluu, Eleme and Ogoni areas, and many more places, its news of beheading, kidnapping, rape, barbaric operations by gunmen in worst actions than herdsmen and Boko Haramists. Yet, not in Okrika! This has made analysts and political watchers to wonder why Okrika is silent.

A one day visit to Okrika and deep interactions with community people revealed two power points in the place that may have fashioned out a security strategy that seems to work: the police and the monarch. The police are led by a Superintendent of Police (SP) Manasis Jesse as Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the traditional rulership is led by the king, Ateke Tom, Amanyanabo of Okrika-Kochiri.

Tom in particular is a peculiar personality; one of the Niger Delta militants who fought for resource control, but received the FG Amnesty offer which required the warlords to be of peaceful conduct thereafter. The interesting thing is that whereas violence has returned in communities controlled by almost all others, not so in Tom’s area of influence, at least Okrika. Many of those interviewed see this as a case of integrity.

Instead, BDSUNDAY found evidence of a network of security between the police and the monarch to deal ruthlessly with anyone trying to return to arms and violence in the area. Thus, as youths return to guns to feed, Okrika seems out of it; not because some persons do not try but because of immediate and prompt actions taken by both the king and the police leadership in the area that brooks no … Read More...