Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said that if any person convicted for killing during kidnap or cultism activities in the state, he will not hesitate to sign the death warrant.
And in his bid to improve security in the state, the governor has given his assent to the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law No.8 of 2018.
Wike also signed the Rivers State Secret Cult and Similar Activities (Prohibition) (Amendment) Law No.6 of 2018 and the Rivers State Kidnap (Prohibition) (Amendment) No.2 Law No.7 of 2018.
The three laws were passed by the state House of Assembly, which the governor signed at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday.
Governor Wike said that the laws were necessary to enhance security in the state.
He said that Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps would support other security agencies with intelligence and information to effectively fight crime and make Rivers safer.
The governor said that the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps cannot work without the approval of security agencies which would profile all the personnel, anybody that anyone who loves Rivers would not do anything to undermine steps that would enhance its security.
He said: “If your hands are clean, you have nothing to fear about the three laws that I have given assent to. By tomorrow, I will appoint the person that will head the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps.
“All criminals will face the full weight of the law. We will fight crime and ensure that the state is safe for investors, ” he said.
He debunked claims by the opposition elements that the state government plans to use the Neighbourhood Watch to arm youths. The governor said that the corps is a replica of what is in existence in Lagos State.
On the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Laws, Wike said that stiffer penalties had been approved to discourage those who might want to be involved in the offences.
“If you are a cultist and you are caught, it is life imprisonment. If you are a cultist and you kill during cult activities, you will face the death penalty.
“If you are convicted for kidnapping and the Supreme Court affirms your conviction, I will sign the death warrant without looking back,” Wike said.
The Assembly Majority Leader, Hon. Martins Amaewhule, who presented the bills, said that the laws provided for stiffer penalties in the interest of the state.
The Speaker, Hon. Ikuinyi Ibani, said that the governor had made a difference through service delivery.