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The Rivers Government has redeemed its pledge of N280 million to families of 14 security personnel murdered during a recent attack on security formations in parts of the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, on behalf of the state governor, presented cheques to 11 widows of Police officers at the State Police Command on Monday in Port Harcourt.
Cheques were also presented to family members of two bereaved personnel of the Nigerian Airforce, respectively, at the Nigerian Airforce Base.
A widow of a deceased Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NCDC) personnel also received the cheque.
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers had announced the donation of N20 million to each family of the slain officers during a condolence visit to the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Friday Eboka.
Danagogo said the gesture was in fulfillment of the governor’s earlier promise to alleviate the plight of the widows of affected personnel and their children.
He said: “His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike deeply sympathises with you. We know there is nothing else he can do to bring your husbands, fathers and brothers back to you.
“But he has asked me to tell you that in situations like this, we look unto God and pray that God will continue to support you and show his grace to you.
“He wants you to know that your husbands and fathers did not die in vain but died for their fatherland and God will certainly take care of all that concerns them.
“Men may not be able to do much to assuage your feelings but be rest assured that God Almighty will take care of you.
“The Governor has asked us to bring this token of N20 million each to the widows and children of the deceased security personnel.
“Our role as a Government is to always identify with people who make sacrifices for the good of humanity, the good of Nigeria and the State.
“No doubt your husbands are some of those who made such sacrifices along with several officers who are doing same.’’
He also assured the security personnel in Rivers of government’s continuous commitment and support as they discharged their duties.
“I encourage all the officers who are toiling day and night to ensure the security of the state that Rivers State Government will always stand with you and identify with you no matter the situation.
“ The Governor appreciates your sacrifices and will always support you to eradicate this recent trend of criminality and terrorism ravaging different parts of the country,’’ he said.
Speaking, the Commissioner of Police thanked Wike and assured of continuous service of his men to the security of the state.
“We are happy that the Governor has extended his hand of friendship to us. We have been sad all these while, but today, the Governor in his magnanimity has come to wipe out our tears.
“We appreciate the Governor and pray that God will continue to help him the way he is helping us.
“We know that money cannot bring back life but invest the money properly so your children will not drop out of school and use it wisely,” he said.
Similarly, Group Capt. G. E. Laha, the Commander 115 Special Operations Group, Nigeria Airforce, Port Harcourt, commended the governor for the gesture and promised to continue in the good service of security of the state.
Responding on behalf of the recipients, Mrs Grace Bassey, the widow of Insp. Paulinus Bassey, expressed gratitude to the governor for empowering the widows and family members of the deceased.