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Insecurity: Wike, Amaechi Exchange Words

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At the weekend, Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike and Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi sparred over the latter’s assertion that poverty in Rivers is due to high unemployment.

Amaechi said Wike ruined all the job-creation programs and projects he launched in the state as Governor while speaking to defectors to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday.

Dr. Reason Onya, the former commissioner for Urban Development and Rural Planning, and Agriculture, Charles Nwaorgu, as well as their supporters, defected to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the Minister, as Governor, his administration implemented numerous agricultural programs that provided youth with job opportunities.

“Rivers State is absolutely in jeopardy,” he said. A condition in which property is gathered and someone is busy constructing everywhere while no one speaks.

“When I was Governor, God knows, I did my best. I did not build only roads, I built schools. I did not build only roads, I built electricity. I built farms. I created employment. Rivers State was not among the highest unemployed community in Nigeria.

“I felt that you employed me. I was not your master; I was your servant. I was not a contractor. I paid contractors so that they can pay their workers and the money will circulate.

“The reason why crime is high in Rivers State is because of unemployment. That the reason why we had the Songhai Farm. Today, the Songhai Farm is gone. That is why we had the Banana Farm that they stopped in Khana.

“That is why we had fish farms and that is why we were building a farm in Etche. We were doing all those things to create employment for the youths. That is why we hired 13,200 teachers and that is why we sent our children overseas to study.”

Wike, on the other hand, reacted quickly, saying it was disingenuous of Amaechi to blame the state’s insecurity on unemployment.

He said: “Is unemployment fuelling insecurity in Kaduna, Plateau , Borno, Yobe, Ondo, Ebony, Imo, Niger States governed by the All Progressives Congress (APC)?”

In a statement released by his Special Assistant for Media, Kelvin Ebiri, the Governor said that if the Minister, who is also the immediate past Governor, was sincere, he would admit that protection is solely the responsibility of the federal government.

He said: “Is he (Amaechi) trying to indict his boss, President Muhammad Buhari, who is the Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and who is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility to provide security for Nigerians.

“It is a well known fact that Amaechi is the one who appoints every Commissioner of Police that has been posted to Rivers State since 2015. So, if there is any security failure, he is to blame.”

Wike called the minister’s comments on the state’s new curfew, which was imposed in response to recent attacks on police units, “unfortunate.”

He said: “Perhaps, the minister is happy that members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are killing innocent policemen , who were protecting lives and property. Is Amaechi happy that the weapons of these slain security personnel were carted away by the hoodlums? Amaechi, from all indication has lost focus and is now frustrated.”

The Governor announced that his administration had awarded over 500 Rivers students scholarships to study medicine and other related courses at PAMO University.

In response to the Minister’s claim that he was buying property in the state, the Governor said that it was better to buy property in Nigeria than in Ghana.

Amaechi’s joy over the defection of his former Commissioner of Urban and Rural Planning, who was convicted by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, according to Wike, is a sign that he is politically insignificant in Rivers.

The Governor also urged the Minister to return to Abuja and address the financial mismanagement plaguing federal agencies under his watch, as well as refrain from damaging other people’s homes.

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