Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, has ordered occupants of shanties sprouting from various points of Rivers State axis of the East-West road to vacate and remove such structures or have them demolished in two weeks.
Wike, ruling on earlier public notice he served about a week ago, said on Friday, June 11, 2021, in a state broadcast that the demolition order was strictly to tackle criminals in Rivers and bears no ethnic hate, but the Hausa community who are the predominant developers and settles on the target shanties alleged they are the target of the Governor’s action.
The Governor had declared that, “We ordered ordered destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East West Road to deny criminals opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along Eleme to Onne stretch of the East West Road, having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the State.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West road to vacate the area within two weeks from today 11th June 2021 as the State Government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.
“We will continue to take the war against criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. They want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew for them to have leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks”
Reacting to the development, a leader among the Hausa in Rivers told Vanguard on anonymity that, “This idea of destroying popular makeshift settlements along the East West Road in guise of flushing out criminal hideouts is all sentiment to target the Hausa communities for eviction in the state.
“These target structures established along the East West Road are too open, bubbling with daily lawful commerce that sustains majority in the Hausa community in the state cannot be labelled criminal hideouts.
“At least these settlements of ours are not known theatres of the frequent fatal cult wars and attacks in Rivers. We may not have the powers to fight the Governor, but it’s unfair to tag our places of living as criminal hideouts whereas the government and security agents know who the criminals and their hideouts are.”