Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has called on ethnic nationalities seeking for the Governorship of the State to liaise with others, rather than take actions that will engender disunity in the state.
He urged the Kalabari Ethnic Nationality and their leaders to be strategic in their quest for Governorship, saying that the resort to needless propaganda will not work in their favour.
Speaking during a solidarity visit on Wednesday by the leaders and people of Kalabari Ethnic Nationality at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike charged them to “have a strategy to get the Governorship Position. Quietly sit down with other ethnic nationalities and work towards the seat.
“The Governorship seat cannot be gotten through the radio. It cannot be gotten through falsehood. There must be a strategy in place. Nobody gives you the Governorship Seat as a gift”, he said.
Noting that if the Governorship seat is gotten as a gift, the people will not appreciate it, the Governor said the Governorship position in Rivers State is difficult to access because Abuja and other key leaders are interested in planting people.
“Abuja is interested; other states are also interested in who becomes the Rivers State Governor. They want to plant a Governor of Rivers State. God will not allow it”, he said.
Governor Wike used the occasion to reiterate that no single ethnic nationality in Rivers State can make a Governor, noting that it takes the cooperation of all ethnic nationalities for a Governor to emerge.
The Governor warned ethnic nationalities against allowing criminals to act as their spokesmen, saying that when criminals assume the position of spokespersons, they only generate crises and threaten violence.
Commenting on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25, Governor Wike said that the owners of Belema Oil embarked on deliberate falsehood to mislead Kalabari people on the role played by the Rivers State Government to resolve the impasse.
He said that the Chairman of Belema Oil met him and said that the Federal Government has agreed to extend the operating license of OML 25 to him, and that after the license was awarded to Shell, he urged Shell and the host communities to resolve their differences.
Governor Wike urged the Chairman of Belema Oil to work for his people instead of generating tension, saying that the State Government displayed good faith when it handed him Certificate of Occupancy for 15 hectares of land earlier revoked by the immediate past APC Administration in the State.
He urged Belema Oil to use her resources to develop riverine communities where they operate, instead of investing billions of naira in the north.
On OML 11, Governor Wike said the Rivers State Government is working for the interest of Rivers people, saying that the aim is to ensure that the host communities are joint owners of the oil facility.
Governor Wike said contrary to the negative falsehood by some politicians, his administration has executed key projects in Kalabari land, spreading across the three Local Government Areas of Kalabari Ethnic Nationality.
In the same vein, the Governor announced that his administration will commence the first phase of the Trans-Kalabari Road, and also promised the release of financial support for the families of those killed by the Nigerian Army during the Presidential election in Abonnema.
Earlier in an address, the Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba commended the Rivers State Governor for his commitment to state-wide development.
While noting that Rivers people rewarded Governor Wike with a second term because of his outstanding performance during his first term, Alabraba said the visit of the Kalabari leaders was to uphold the Governor’s doggedness towards the good of the State.
“We are here to celebrate your gallantry to uphold the common good of Rivers State. Nobody would have been able to stand the way you did, during the elections”, he said.
He urged the Governor to compensate those negatively affected by the military invasion of Abonnema during the Presidential election.
Chief Alabraba said the performance of Governor Wike led to several awards with the climax last Saturday when the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality honoured him as the “Dike Oha Ikwerre”.
He commended the Governor for working for the peace of Kalabari Ethnic Nationality through his intervention during the crisis of OML 25 and the conflict between Eroton and host communities.
Also speaking, Bishop Ombo Isokariari said Kalabari people voted Governor Wike enmasse because of his commitment to good governance and projects delivery.
He lauded Governor Wike for standing with the Kalabari Ethnic Nationality at all times.
On his part, the Amayanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Bob-Manuel, recalled the visit of Governor Wike to Abonnema a day after the military invaded the area during the Presidential Election, saying that the people appreciate the governor for his show of love and concern.
Speaking further, Governor Wike used the opportunity to call on Kalabari Leaders to prevail on the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, not to allow himself to be used by external forces to create disunity in the State.
The Governor expressed regret that the Amanyanabo of Kalabari deliberately allowed the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, to use him to promote divisiveness.
He said: “I want to publicly lay a complain on the action of Amanyanabo of Kalabari. The next time it happens, I will act as a Governor.
“The Amanyanabo of Abonnema didn’t do it; he called me on phone when the Governor of Bayelsa, Dickson tried to create problems in Rivers State.”
Governor Wike said the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor visited the state, without getting in touch with the relevant authorities, under the guise of coming to see Ijaw people.
“He said he was coming to see Ijaw people in Rivers State and he would be hosted by the Amanyanabo of Kalabari and Amanyanabo of Abonnema.
“The Amayanabo of Abonnema called me and said how can that be? The Rivers State Governor did not call me. The Amanyanabo of Kalabari did not call me. What he did was to roll out drums to receive the Bayelsa State Governor “, Governor Wike said.
The Rivers State Governor informed the Kalabari Delegation, that should the Amanyanabo of Kalabari take such illegal action in future, he will face sanctions.
“That day I would have removed him, but I held myself. What they would do is to go to Radio and abuse me. But I am used to insults. I am trying to complain to you people.
“You can see how people are trying to divide a State. A fellow Governor would come from somewhere to create Division.”
He said the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor professes love for Ijaw people in Rivers State, but is busy working to take the State’s oil resources in Soku and Kula.
“Already, we have gone back to Court in relation to Soku oil wells. This is the man who is claiming Kula oil wells and Soku.
“I have gone back to court and we will reclaim the Soku Oil Wells for Rivers State. This is the same man you claim loves you and you roll out drums against Protocol”, he said.
He reiterated that the Amanyanabo of Kalabari will face sanctions if he continues acts of Division.
“If any of such things happen again, I will take the necessary action. I will not listen to any further excuse. That is why I am saying this publicly. Tell him to respect constituted authority.
“It is not good for anyone to come and divide Rivers State, because the state is one. It is unfortunate what my colleague did. I handed him over to God and prayed for God to do his will”, he said.
The Governor commended the peace initiative of the Amanyanabo of Abonnema and urged other Traditional Rulers to emulate him.
He said: “I thank the Amanyanabo of Abonnema for his peace initiative. I urge other Traditional Rulers to emulate him. Work towards peace amongst your people. You cannot live where there is no peace.
“It is impossible to have governance without peace. So you need peace in your domain.”
The Governor, on behalf of the State Government, also offered to bury the late
prominent Kalabari son and philanthropist, High Chief O.B. Lulu Briggs, whose burial has been prolonged for close to a year over family feud.
Stating that the Rivers State Government is interested in according the late Philanthropist the respect he deserves, the Governor said, “I even told them (family) to let the Rivers State Government be responsible for the burial.
“Let the State Government take the corpse. Government will hold the corpse and give him a befitting burial. All I want is peace.
“How can a prominent son of Kalabari Land stay in the mortuary for one year and we are all here. Nobody can speak the truth.
Governor Wike called on the Kalabari leaders to set aside their differences and intervene to ensure that Chief O. B. Lulu Briggs is buried.
“They have divided themselves. You collect money here, you collect money there and you cannot speak the truth.
“I have intervened more than three to four times. Having meetings, but was disappointed by the wife. I have to say clearly to all of you. I have never received insult like that in my life”, he said.
He stated that he told Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs and the widow of the late philanthropist to allow the love they have for Chief O.B Lulu Briggs influence them into allowing him to be buried, and they can continue the struggle for his property.
Governor Wike appealed to the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Bob-Manuel, and other leaders of the area to directly intervene to resolve the matter.
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COVID-19 Decisions Are Taken By State Security Council – Governor Wike
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that the State Security Council takes all decisions in the prosecution of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
Governor Wike who stated this on Tuesday when the Executive of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt pointed out that he has never taken any unilateral decision.
The State Chief Executive noted that all decisions taken by the State Government are for the overall good and interest of the Rivers people as no right thinking government would deliberately take decisions that would negatively affect the lives of the people.
“I don’t take decisions alone in the fight against COVID-19. All decisions are taken by the State Security Council and they are for the overall interest of Rivers people.
” You know people applaud government decisions when it suits them but when it does not favour them they say it is politically motivated.
“Rivers State Government does not have anything against hoteliers in the state, but decided to shutdown their activities because some cases of COVID-19 were recorded in hotels,” he stated.
Governor Wike also blamed the hoteliers for failing to assist government in providing relevant information regarding those that test positive of the coronavirus in their hotels.
According to him, adequate information would have helped the State Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to carry out proper contact tracing.
“Its not possible that the State Government will intentionally close down hotels. But what I see is that people play politics with everything.
“The demolition of Prodest Hotel and Etemeteh Hotel in Eleme Local Government Area by the State Government became necessary because the owners failed to comply with Executive Order 7,” he said.
The State Chief Executive stated that he is more pained than any other person in the state that churches and mosques are not holding their full religious activities because of COVID-19.
“I can’t believe that I will be sitting here as a Governor and take a painful decision that will make churches and mosques not to hold full religious activities, ” he said.
The Governor lauded members of the State Chapter of Nigeria Hotel Association for identifying with government efforts in the fight against COVID- 19.
Earlier, the State Chairman, Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr. Eugene Nwauzi commended Governor Wike for leading the fight against coronavirus in the country.
Mr. Nwauzi noted that but for the efforts put in place by the Governor, the spread of COVID-19 would have taken a dangerous dimension in the state.
RSG Cancels Lockdown Of Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt Local Government
? Imposes state-wide curfew 8p.m to 6a.m from June 2, 2020 till further notice
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? Investigating alleged outbreak of coronavirus in Bonny LGA
Rivers State Government has cancelled the proposed lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas scheduled to resume tomorrow.
Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this in a state-wide broadcast also announced the imposition of 8p.m to 6am curfew in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State with effect from June 2,2020 till further notice.
The Governor also revealed that government has uncovered plans by some criminal elements led by one Bobosky to cause security breaches in Khana, Eleme,Gokana, Tai, Oyigbo and Ikwerre Local Government Areas.
“After a comprehensive review of the measures taken and further considerations placed before us by well-meaning members of the public, the State Security Council has decided to cancel the proposed lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of the State.
“In essence, no part of Rivers State is or will be under any lockdown from this moment and this will be so, except where it becomes necessary again.
“As we all know, the regular washing of hands, religious wearing of face masks, keeping effective physical and social distance of between 1.5 to 2 meters from other people, completely avoiding touching of faces with unwashed hands, and cleaning of surfaces we regularly touch have been identified as some of the most effective measures against contracting this virus in the absence of vaccine, ” he said.
According to the Governor, government would re-enforce the decisions on the continuous implementation of the following measures throughout the State:
(i) All land borders, including all exit and entry routes into Rivers State shall remain closed to human and vehicular traffic, except those on essential services and duly exempted.
(ii) All residents must wear face masks or covering into any public space, including our roads, banks, shopping malls, shops, hotels and in any lawful social gathering.
(iii) The State task force and the security agencies have been directed to arrest and summarily prosecute any person seen on our streets or any other public place without wearing face masks.
(iv) All banks, motor parks, hotels, restaurants, shops, business centres, shopping malls, and offices must maintain social distancing and enforce the wearing of face masks in their premises.
(v) The State task force and security agencies have been directed to seal up, prosecute and confiscate to the State any bank, shopping mall, restaurant, shop, business place or office that fails to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in its premises.
(vi) In addition to providing daily guest list to the Police and the Department of State Security, hoteliers must not host large gatherings, including parties and receptions. Defaulting hotels will be sealed-up and the owners summarily prosecuted.
(vii) All bars, beer palours, or drinking joints, night-clubs, viewing centres, open markets and cinemas shall remain closed until further notice;
(viii) Oil mill market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall remain closed until further notice;
(ix) Oginigba Slaughter market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall similarly remain closed until further notice.
(x) Mbiama market in Ahoada West Local Government Area shall also remain closed until further notice;
(xi) All public weddings, burials and large social gatherings shall remain banned.
(xii) Churches and other religious gatherings should continue to comply with the existing advisory on social distancing, initiate temperature checks and enforce the wearing of face masks during their activities;
(xiii) Dealers in Ikoku Spare Parts markets are warned for the last time to stop converting public roads to mechanic workshops or risk final closure.
(xiv) Similarly, no mechanic workshop should be found along Ikwerre road as Government will prosecute defaulters and confiscate any vehicle being repaired on any public road.
(xv) Private and commercial vehicles, including tricycles must continue to limit their passengers to the number earlier established and enforce the wearing of face masks by all passengers. Defaulters will be prosecuted and their vehicles confiscated by the Task force.
These measures, he said, are in the best interest of our State, to protect our lives, businesses, and jobs as well as, to prevent our troubled economy from suffering irreparable damage.
“This also means that, residents now bear much greater responsibility to stop and prevent our State from suffering the exponential and potentially devastating spread of the virus being experienced across the
“As 60% of the positive cases recorded in the State are connected with oil company workers, we have initiated a meeting with all the major oil companies to work out strategies on how we can stop this trend and stop the risk this category of workers now pose to the State.
“Government is also investigating the rumored or suspected outbreak of the coronavirus at Bonny Island.
“Our team of medical personnel led by the Commissioner for Health has visited Bonny Island and collected samples from suspected cases for analysis and immediate intervention should the results indicate the outbreak of the virus in the area, “the governor said.
The State Chief Executive also revealed that intelligence has intercepted a clandestine plan by some criminal elements led by Bobosky to cause security breaches in the State by instigating violence and burning down churches in Khana, Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Oyigbo Local Government Areas of the State.
He assured all residents that the State Government is fully ready and prepared to deal with the situation and continue to guarantee the protection of lives and property throughout the State.
The Governor implored all residents to be vigilant and report all suspicious characters and movements in their neighbourhoods to security agencies.
“Leaders and vigilante groups in our communities are to work with the security agencies to enforce curfew in their localities and arrest and prosecute anyone that violates the curfew order.
“We urge our people to stop the fake news on social media; stop the baseless bickering, the needless blame game, and the seditious rumours that does no good to our image or provide any solution to the common challenges that we face.
“Rather, we should all come together, put our fate in our own hands and work for the common good of all, whether as individuals, families or as communities,” he stated.
The Governor commended all health workers who have continued to put their lives at risk in the forefront in the battle against COVID-19.
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