Troops from 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt on Thursday shut down the training camp for the newly recruited youths of Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency at Nonwa Gbam in Tai Local Government Area of the state.
About 2,000 youths engaged by the Rivers State Government to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force in providing security in all parts of the state were undergoing training at the camp before they were dispersed and the facility shut down by soldiers from the 6 Division.
In a press statement issued in Port Harcourt on Thursday, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Aminu Iliyazu, said the camp was shut down because its men discovered that the facility is being used to train militias.
He said preliminary investigations into the discovery have commenced in conjunction with sister security agencies in the state to fish out the sponsors of the militia and the training camp.
He noted that similar illegal militia training camps were discovered and disbanded in Benue and Taraba states earlier in the year saying that measures were promptly taken to forestall breach of security and safety of citizens.
In a swift reaction, however, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Barrister Emma Okah, described the actions of the Army as an insult to the Government and People of Rivers state saying that it was unprovoked and unnecessary.
He called on the Nigerian Army to stay away from partisan politics so that they do not derail the 2019 general elections in the state.
“We have every reason to believe that the action of the soldiers is politically motivated. Rivers State Government has always accused the Federal Government of working against the security interest of Rivers State and the brazen sack of a legitimate exercise of screening applicants for recruitment to assist in the fight against insecurity in Rivers State is self-evident” Okah said.
He accused the federal government of double standards, saying other states like Lagos, Kwara and Kano had operational neighbourhood security outfits.
Also, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, described the clamp down of the training centre as an act of irresponsibility aimed at instigating insecurity in the state.