Governor Chibuike Amaechi says the decision to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) was borne out of developing Nigeria and correcting the mistakes of the past.
Amaechi made the clarification when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Water Resources paid him a courtesy visit last Monday in Government House, Port Harcourt.
He therefore called on those who were yet to join them to do so, saying, “the earlier, the better becuase the reason for going there is basically we stand to change the course of development in Nigeria.
“We think we should move forward so that this country cannot continue to suffer what it has been suffering,” he pointed out.
Amaechi had at a special dinner and award night to mark Port Harcourt City’s centenary celebrations last weekend told a gathering of former governors and military administrators of Rivers State that he defected from the PDP to APC because the state had not benefitted from the 2.1 million votes it contributed to President Jonathan’s election in 2011.
“The reason for the disagreement between us and our former party (PDP) is that as we speak, if you go to Soku that you governed, it used to belong to Rivers State. As I am talking to you today, Soku belongs to Bayelsa State. They took the oil wells; they took everything and left the human beings for us.
“As Governor of Rivers State, I accepted the mandate. Not under my watch will I surrender what the people have given me in trust. I ask the people of Kalabari; what will I tell your unborn children that I, Amaechi ceded Soku to Bayelsa? And I said I would fight that cause to the end.
“I am not running for any other election; I am almost finishing my tenure. I will stick out my neck and fight until we recover Soku land back to Rivers State. That is one reason we are leaving PDP to APC where we think that our interests will be well protected.
“Another reason for which we are leaving PDP to APC is that the oil wells in Omuma Local Government Area have been ceded to Abia State. No letter was written to us; no boundary adjustment.
“They didn’t tell us to come and defend any boundary disagreement. We just woke up one day and they wrote us a letter that the following oil wells in Rivers State had been ceded to Abia State. No reason was given to us; we protested, yet no answer. But we are in court.
“All that is happening under the watch of our current president, who grew up in Port Harcourt. But when we protest, they get angry,” he said.
Amaechi also decried the absence of federal government projects in the state.
“I asked Mr. President: Rivers State gave you two million votes, mention the projects that you have given to Rivers State. We listened to the President’s speech, the day he came for the centenary.
“He said we are building a skills acquisition centre for N15 billion. That skills acquisition centre was between me and (the late President) Yar’Adua. He asked me what we could do to reduce the crime in Rivers State and I told him, Sir, that crime is not based on ethnicity, it is based on hunger.
“If we can train them and get them employed, it will reduce crime. I said skills acquisition will be the best and he said, fine go and build a skills acquisition centre.
“I think then, it was N5 billion and now, I hear them saying N15 billion. Rivers indigenes were awarded the contracts; the contracts were cancelled and now re-awarded to Bayelsa indigenes.
“But the president (Jonathan) said that was the project he sited in Rivers State. It was the late President Yar’Adua that initiated the project. President Jonathan only inherited it before it was abandoned. So now that the president has mentioned it, we want him to complete it,” he said.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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