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According to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, through politicising insecurity, the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has plummeted the security-challenged states into an unthinkable rate of banditry that might not end soon.
On Thursday, the governor received the Board of Editors of Independent Newspapers Limited, headed by the company’s Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, Steve Omanufeme, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike claimed that when Rivers faced insecurity in 2015, he approached the Federal Government, but instead of providing assistance, they ignored it as politics motivated by disdain for the state and a willingness to see it remain ungovernable.
“They didn’t send special forces to Rivers as they’re sending to other states now. They refused to support me because they didn’t want the State to be governable.
“Crime knows no boundary. It can be you tomorrow. If they have brought out zeal to fight crime, with seriousness, and collaboration irrespective of the party you belong to, a good result will be achieved.
He further added: “Banditry will never end since they’ve politicised the issue of security. I told them don’t politicise issues of security. They’re paying the price. Whatever you sow, you will reap. If you sow peace you’ll reap peace, if you sow trouble, trouble will always be with you.”
The Rivers State Governor said it is difficult to fight crime in situations when cultists are arrested, people go to Abuja to tell the Inspector General of Police(IG) and the Chief of Army Staff that those arrested are their boys just to secure their release and let them off the law.
Governor Wike commented on the denials trailing the $1billion Dollar withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account and said it is shameful that a government that is fighting corruption will condone such, allowing both the money and the weapons to go missing, unaccounted for.
“Now, the National Security Adviser says the $1billion Dollar they took from our Excess Crude Account without even paying us our 13 percent derivation is gone. They said they’ve not seen the weapons.
“But this one the National Security Adviser is saying that they misquoted him. I tell you, nobody is misquoting anything. We are aware that there was no weapon.
“Even the Chief of Army Staff said he didn’t collect money. So where did the money go ? This is a government fighting corruption and the press is not talking.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike berated the Nigeria press for losing their strength of voice to speak truth to authority with vehemence as they did during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“As regards this country, we are where we are because of you (journalists). In 2014, you were bought over to pull down the government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I had told the Trade Union Congress (TUC) the other day, and asked then where are you that you see things in Nigeria getting worse; insecurity, increase in price of everything and you say nothing.
“Now, you’ll not pull down Nigeria again because it is not a minority man that is in power. Where is the voice of the people? Where is the voice of the journalists? Have your mouth be sealed up, dumped and you can’t talk again?
“Is it because you’ve seen power greater than you? When Jonathan was in power, he respected fundamental human rights. He allowed freedom of speech.
“Nobody would be arrested but now, you can’t talk because of fear that you’ll be arrested. That’s the situation we found ourselves. So, when I see journalists these days, I’m just shy. But you owe this country a lot.”
Governor Wike said if Nigeria was truly a country, the former GOC of the 6 Division of the Nigeria Army in Port Harcourt would have been dismissed because of his political involvement during the 2019 general elections. According to him, even the former Chief of Army Staff was so exposed when he lobbied the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and attempted to rig the 2019 General Election.