The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has advised the Nigerian Army to focus on its traditional role of securing the country, instead of illegally delving into politics, which has destroyed its image.
Wike also said that the neglect of critical areas of constitutional responsibility by the Nigerian Army has negatively affected its ability to perform.
The governor spoke during a courtesy visit by Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Army at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Friday.
The governor said: “The Army should be sent to where there are serious security infractions.
“But the reality today is that everyone now has soldiers attached to them while the general security of the country suffers. The role of the Army is to defend the territorial integrity of the country and maintain general security. The Army must return to their primary responsibility”.
He said that the Nigerian Army must channel her resources to where they are needed for the good of the country.
Wike stated that in Rivers State, the Nigerian Army has been helpful in tackling insecurity and kidnapping.
He said: “The Army has supported us in terms of fighting insecurity and kidnapping. They have worked with other security agencies to improve the security of the state.
“But they played very negative roles during the elections. The Army was involved in ballot snatching and attempts to subvert the will of Rivers people. The authorities should work hard to change the perception of the Army on the streets”.
Wike said despite the negative roles of the Army, the Rivers State Government under his leadership has invested heavily in the Army.
“There is no governor in this country that can challenge the level of support that we have availed the Nigerian Army. We funded the operationalization of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army. I have never turned my back on the Army or any security agency in terms of logistics and funding”, he said.
The governor said that the N100billion allocated to the Army in the 2020 federal budget was inadequate.
He also wondered what has happened to the $1billion withdrawn by President Muhammadu Buhari from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the equipping of the Nigerian Army.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, had commended the governor for supporting the Nigerian Army to deliver on its mandate.
Ndume said: “Port Harcourt is now secure due to the investments of Governor Wike in the security of the state. In collaboration with the security agencies, Wike has been able to restore security to the state.
“The level of security in Rivers State wouldn’t have been achieved without the support of Governor Wike. If all governors were doing same things in addressing security challenges like Governor Wike, the country would have been better off”.
He stated that the N100bllion allocated to the Nigerian Army in 2020 budget would not achieve results, noting that efforts must be geared towards attracting more support for the Army.
He praised the Rivers State governor for the massive infrastructural development witnessed across the state, noting that the changes are noticeable.
Ndume described Wike as a development-minded politician who was needed for the growth of Nigeria.
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents
The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.
Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.
“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.
“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.
“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.
“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.
“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.
Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than
30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.
“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.
“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.
The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.
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