By Adekunle Aliyu
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has placed a N200million bounty for information that will lead to the arrest of the gunmen who killed at least 14 churchgoers returning from a midnight service on Monday in Omoku.
The gunmen had opened fire on a set of worshippers at about 12:30 am on Monday,” said Ugochi Olugbo, a relative of one of the victims who were attending a New Year’s Eve service.
“Fourteen persons died on the spot, while 12 who sustained gunshot wounds were rushed to the hospital and are receiving medical attention,” said a police source who asked to remain anonymous.
Governor Wike spoke on Tuesday after he led the Rivers State Security Council on a fact finding/sympathy visit to the families of the deceased. He also visited those injured during the attack.
The governor also visited the sites of the crime where he received briefing from the Nigerian Police Area Commander, Mr Mike Nwafor and the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (ONELGA) Local Government Council Caretaker Chairman, Mr Olisa Osi.
He said: “We have placed a N200million bounty for relevant information that will lead to the arrest of all those involved in this unfortunate act of violence.
“Anybody who is connected to this crime in any way will have his/her houses forfeited to the Government. This place has been peaceful before this unfortunate mayhem.
“We will not allow another case of this violence. We have mobilised the security agencies to take the battle to the perpetrators “.
Governor Wike said all those linked to the Omoku violence will face the full weight of the law.
“You cannot shed innocent blood and go free. We are working with all the security agencies to do everything possible to arrest the perpetrators. They must pay for this”, he said.
The governor commiserated with the families of the deceased, saying that the State Government will support them in burying their loved ones. He added that the state government will also settle the medical bills of those receiving treatment at different hospitals.
He said: “I am pained by this unfortunate mayhem . Enough is enough. ”
The governor and the service commanders also visited the residence of wanted cultist, Don Danny where the Rivers State Governor commended security agencies for working hard to improve the security of the state.
Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Mr Osi Olisa informed the governor that 17 persons lost their lives as a result of the attack.
In an interview, Prophetess Comfort Ordu who lost her husband and three of her children, said they were dragged out of their home and killed by the perpetrators.
Some of those murdered in cold blood include: Favour Odili, Saviour Amirinze, Augustine Ordu, Precious Ordu, Wisdom Ordu, Jennifer Ohia and Innocent Ohia. Others are: Reuben Idogu, Baby Idogu, Ngozi Ogbuanukwu, Oyi Ogadinma, Nwagaego Ogadinma and Uche Onige.
Governor Wike was accompanied to Omoku by the Brigade Commander of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General A.A Bande, the Commander of Joint Task Force, Colonel M.N Madi, Rivers State Deputy Police Commissioner, Ahmed Magaji and Rivers State Director of the Department of State Services, Mr Tosin Ajayi.