Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has described as betrayal of his people, the position taken by an Abonnema traditional ruler, King Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel on the disputed Soku oil wells in Rivers State.
BobManuel, the Amayanabo of Abonnema had reportedly expressed satisfaction with the way President Goodluck Jonathan was handling the Soku oil wells’ dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
He expressed this position when Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson visited him in Abonnema.
Governor Amaechi, speaking on TODAY 95.1FM, the premium talk/news radio station in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said he was disappointed with King Gbobo Bob-Manuel’s comments.
He said the response by the Abonnema monarch conflicted with his government’s efforts and Kalabari people’s desire to ensure that resources of the state were not whisked away to other states.
“There is an attempt by the Federal Government to undermine the development of Rivers State. I did enumerate the fact that, everybody is talking about Soku oil wells but, there’s also Etche where they took 41 oil wells from Rivers State and passed onto Abia. They want to impoverish Rivers State, and I can’t be governor and you expect me to keep quiet. So, not just Soku alone, it is also the fact that they have taken the oil wells in Etche.
“I hear my colleague, the Governor of Bayelsa State came to Abonnema the other day and the Amanyanabo of Abonnema received him and said he was satisfied with the way the president is handling the oil wells (dispute). For me, that is a betrayal of his people and he is suppose to be a king in Kalabari Kingdom; and he said he is satisfied that the Federal Government has taken the oil wells and that Bayelsa is receiving the money. A king in Abonnema is saying he is satisfied. It is not about me, it is about the Kalabari people. It is about the Rivers people.
“Instead of the king to tell him (Bayelsa Governor) ‘look, our people are not happy that the oil wells have been taken, return it’…..and I have told the president if you return the oil wells, I will support you, but he can’t. I even told them that if you think it would empower me as a governor, keep the money in an escrow account because the money was first and foremost in an escrow account. But because they became president, they went to the escrow account and took the money. Keep the money in escrow account, after my tenure, let them give the money to the next government but what I want to see done is the fact that our resources are returned to us.”
He recalled that he held several meetings with the president on resolving the Soku oil wells’ dispute, but that the president’s unwillingness to act on the issue without bias collapsed the negotiations.
He vowed to protect and defend the interests of the people in Soku as well as those in other parts of the state.
“The question you should ask is that, is it correct that the oil coming from Soku have been appropriated by the Federal Government and given to Bayelsa? I have been saying this for the past two years, why haven’t they denied that? There is nothing that I have said that they have responded to. Instead of responding to it, they will be abusing me. Is it a lie that they took Soku oil wells to Bayelsa? Is it a lie that they also took the 41 oil wells from Rivers to Abia?”, he queried.
“There is nothing I am telling you in public I have not told the President in private. The only reason why I am in public now is because he has refused to do anything. I would like to quote the response he (President Jonathan) gave to the Kalabari people when he met with them and I was there. The President said ‘oh, you people call it Soku, we call it Oluasiri’. When he said ‘we call it..’, what does he mean? It means that he has taken sides. You know, the president is not supposed to take sides. He didn’t say ‘Rivers people call it Soku, Bayelsa people call it Oluasiri’. If he said that, then we would say okay, he is at the centre too, we can discuss this. He said ‘you people call it Soku, ‘we’ call it Oluasiri’. Already, that shows the judgement has already been given.
“Now, in their submission in court and the letter they wrote Rivers State Government, they did acknowledge that it was a mistake that in the course of the drawing of that map, they drew Soku into Bayelsa, and then we complained against it because it was sent to us to review and make our submissions. Our response was ‘no, no, you have made a mistake.”
“You have just taken our community into Bayelsa. They replied that they have already released this map and that it is unfortunate that they have and it was a mistake that they would correct in the subsequent edition. And they have not been able to make that correction, and when they say they want to invite us to a meeting, I say ‘what are you inviting us to a meeting for? You have already acknowledged that there was a mistake, go and correct the mistake. If Bayelsa has any complaints, then put the complaints on the table after you have corrected it.”
Governor Amaechi disproved claims that he had personal misunderstanding with the president, explaining that any misunderstanding he had with the president was over the interests of Rivers State.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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