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Rivers, Safest State In Nigeria

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The recent comments by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, concerning the safety and security of Rivers State, did not come to many people as a surprise.
His penchant for bitterness propelled propaganda and anger-fuelled political rhetoric are already well known to Rivers people and discerning Rivers watchers.
What is sadly surprising, however, is the occasion he used as platform to ventilate his hate filled sardonic comments, which has left many aghast by the brazen display of this rigid, unbending, cold hearted vindictiveness.
One had expected that a man like Amaechi, who has enjoyed unmerited favour in abundance and unquantifiable goodwill in excess, irrespective of his own very limited credentials, would at least have displayed a modicum of respect in the presence of the mortal remains of a distinguished elder statesman, whom he even referred to as his mentor.
But rather than show humility and reverence, Rotimi Amaechi chose the very sombre and solemn occasion of the funeral service of late Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, to launch into an egocentric rant celebrating his regime as Governor, with disrespectful and megalomaniac impunity to the chagrin and consternation of all who had gathered to bid the great man goodbye.
The Transportation Minister, in his lamentations on what he, in his warped imagination, contrived as the rising spate of insecurity and political intimidation in Rivers State, told the gathering that: “You have lost your voice. The sage has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was Governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices. I was happy with the sermon, the Bishop indicted us. If you are a Governor, have you governed well? If you are a politician, have you carried your people along?
“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody can speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.”
Rotimi Amaechi also made other atrocious and provocative comments, like casting aspersion on the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, for the non completion of the Trans-Kalabari Road, as well as some elementary advise he received from the late renowned jurist, which even a greenhorn aspiring politician should be knowledgeable about and all these of course have elevated Justice Karibi-Whyte to the enviable status of ‘his mentor’.
It is quite unfortunate that Amaechi had to spew this verbiage at such a poignant occasion, but those who know him well, have come to understand his uncensored demagoguery, unquenchable lust for divisiveness and the sadistic pleasure he derives in the politics of blackmail and subterfuge.
However, the question to ask Rotimi Amaechi is: what exactly does he want people to say that has not already been said by his diehard attack dogs, hirelings and refuseniks, who have not given the Governor Wike administration breathing space with their worthless, totally irrelevant negative criticisms since 2015? Indeed, which voice is he accusing the great Kalabari people of losing now that the sage is gone?
Obviously, Amaechi has forgotten so soon, how he deceived, insulted and rubbished the whole Kalabari ethnic nation, by first imposing with impunity, a candidate and his crony, who is a complete outsider, in the guise of riverine Governor agitation, at the expense of tried, tested, articulate and seasoned Kalabari sons who contributed huge human and material resources to build the structure he hijacked to achieve his selfish objectives.
Recall also that when that ill fated project failed woefully, he deceitfully dredged up a complete political greenhorn and drafted him as the favoured candidate, all in the name of appeasing Kalabari people. One is compelled to ask, is that the best Amaechi can do for Kalabari people?
Or does he want the people to recall how he sent soldiers to Abonnema, the very home town of the eminent Justice Karibi Whyte that he claims to be his mentor, to slaughter innocent men, women, youths in his quest to seize power at all cost? What did the people do to him as he came to dance on the graves of those that were killed? Nothing. Yet, those who sat down in that church and listened to him excoriate Kalabari people for not speaking out, clapped for him, all in the name of mourning the departed sage. So, what does he want them to say to him now?
The wickedness of Rotimi Amaechi’s anarchist mindset was further revealed when, in very choice sentences, he dragged King Ateke Michael Tom, the Amanyanabo of Okochiri kingdom, into his bitter commentary.
Of course, those who know better understand why he had to drag King Ateke into a hate speech in Kalabari kingdom, but what Amaechi forgot was that the people of Okochiri, with one loud, united voice, came together and unanimously crowned Ateke Tom as their beloved king.
Infact, there has been complete and permanent peace in his kingdom since he was crowned king, except for one incident of external provocation, when soldiers, acting on the command of the Transportation Minister, invaded King Ateke’s palace in the run up to the 2019 elections.
The calculation was to provoke reprisal attacks but wisdom reigned supreme and that evil was defeated and averted. So, will Amaechi’s attempt to foment another trouble again by dragging King Ateke Tom into his bitterness succeed?
The answer is a resounding No, because his dubious intention of invoking the name of King Ateke Tom in Kalabari land is not lost on anybody and the people are not at all fooled for one minute by this latest foul mouthed loquaciousness.
Rivers people, including the Kalabaris, are wiser now and have long passed that stage and nobody, especially Rotimi Amaechi, will drag them back there again for his selfish ambition.
Again, Rotimi Amaechi went to Kalabari land and told the people that President Goodluck Jonathan, who he shamelessly claimed to have reconciled with, refused to give him approval to construct the Emohua/Abonnema Road but he dualised the Airport/Elele/Omerelu which is a federal road project and the people are not talking.
Or maybe, what they should be talking is how come Rotimi Amaechi is getting billions of naira and dollars from China to do railway projects all over the country and even to Niger Republic, except in Rivers State, yet he cannot do anything for Kalabari people, if only to honour his “mentor”, Justice Karibi Whyte?
Talking about security, one must make the incontrovertible point that in Nigeria today, unlike Amaechi’s own imagination, Rivers State is arguably the safest State in the country at this present time and the reason is quite simple.
Governor Nyesom Wike embraced the security challenge frontally and deployed a proactive, effective, functional and pragmatic security strategy, accommodating all security agencies in a symbiotic synergy that completely rejigged the security architecture in the State.
At the commencement of his second term, Governor Wike initiated a comprehensive security platform to address the security challenges facing different parts of the State. This was a product of careful planning and implementation and on Friday, 26th July, 2019, right in the presence of all key stakeholders at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, he launched a new Rivers State Security outfit code-named Operation Sting.
Operation Sting is an outfit that involves all the security agencies, working in unison to address security concerns in all parts of the state. It is fully funded by the Rivers State Government with the aim of tackling criminal elements, the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and to nip them in their buds, rout and root them out of existence and reduce crime and criminality in all parts of the state.
To ensure that the new security outfit responded effectively across the state, the administration provided the right logistics and equipment in patrol/operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets; armoured fitted gunboats, to tighten coastal security and protect the waterways from the activities of criminals; Armoured Personnel Carriers for Police swift responses actions as well as; hand-held mobile radios to enhance communication among the security operatives and overcome the current wide gaps in intelligence gathering.
Operation Sting has functional and operational bases established in all the 23 Local Government Areas to strengthen the command and control structures of the initiative and ensure effective coordination and synergy between the State Headquarters, the Local Government Areas and the communities to achieve the common objective of providing comprehensive security cover for the State.
In addition, the operationalization of Operation Sting across the State has also increased citizens’ awareness and made the public to be more alive to the dangers of insecurity and their responsibility to be part of the present crusade to stamp this menace from the state and in appreciation of the officers and men who will participate in the new security architecture, the State Government set up a fund to cater for their families, in the event of any mishap in the course of service.
The result of this has manifested in the excellent collective intelligence gathering that has led recently to the smoking out and capture of some of the most dreaded criminal elements terrorizing the state over the years. Some were even apprehended outside Rivers State for the simple reason that the Wike administration has made the state too hot for criminals to operate or even hide out. This has made Rivers State arguably the safest state in the country today.
The Next Supermarket, the biggest in West Africa, Turkish Airline, Ethiopian Airline, Greenville Energy Company and Stockgap Nigeria Limited are new businesses thriving under this administration. In fact, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 Project could not have taken off if there is insecurity.
To buttress this point Governor Wike, in a recent Television interview said: “Rivers State is safer than any other State. See what is happening in Borno, Kaduna and Plateau States where bandits have taken over their areas. When Amaechi was Governor, Julius Berger Nigeria PLC was chased away because of insecurity. But they are here now, constructing roads all over the State without fear.
“The heads of security agencies that Amaechi influences their postings, come here and see the reality on ground.”
So, the Transportation Minister, having nothing better to say, than to instigate people with his provocative comments, has confessed that he will start talking from next year, if nobody wants to talk from now till then. But sadly for him, Rivers people are now wiser and nobody is afraid of talking because many people have come to the realization that when they talk, the Governor listens and makes sure he delivers what the people want.
Governor Wike is not only delivering good governance, he is also fulfilling all the promises he made to Rivers people. And that is why, when he also talks, the people listen and comply, as they demonstrated commendably during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
This, of course, is a far cry from what obtained in the previous administration where, when the Judges talked the courts were shut down for two years, when lecturers spoke, they were suspended. In fact, anybody who raised a voice of dissent was either clamped down by the dictator or denied the dividends of democracy.
The fact remains that Amaechi is the singular most divisive political figure in Rivers State today and the feeling, even amongst his own supporters, is that he is only deceiving himself, if he believes he will continue to behave like a dictator and an unpopular godfather, whose word must be obeyed always, in the political space of Rivers State.
Rivers people have proved to him that they are not afraid to talk and they have spoken loudly and clearly every time it mattered most, especially in 2015 and 2019. Rivers people are talking and Governor Wike is a listening Governor, who hears what they are saying and is responding to their voices with the commitment and dedication of a leader who has the interest of his people at heart.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Group Urges Buhari To Inaugurate NDDC Board

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Following the delay in the inauguration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) substantive board, the Ijaw Interest Advocates (IIA) has again asked President Muhammadu Buhari to take charge, absolve himself from the minister’s delay tactics and inaugurate the NDDC Governing Board.
In a statement, President of IIA, also known as Izanzan Intellectual Camp, Amb. Salaco Yerinmene, told Buhari to immediately inaugurate the NDDC substantive board to avert the looming crisis in the region.
According to him, “for long, we have observed that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwin Akpabio’s tactics to perpetrate illegality in NDDC is for personal financial gains.”
The president of the group, Salaco, who said Akpabio has done more harm to NDDC than ever, accused Akpabio of toying with the commission, adding that Buhari should distance himself from his activities if he was not selective in the fight against corruption in the country.
The Ijaw advocates added: “Akpabio is only a supervisory minister and that does not mean he alone owns the commission. Major stakeholders, well-meaning leaders and people of the Niger Delta are supposed to be part of the NDDC but today Akpabio has sidelined them.”
The group queried what the minister is doing with the money that comes to NDDC because contractors are not paid as contractors have pulled out of site.
It would be recalled that the Association of Contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (ACNDDC), had last Thursday, embarked on a protest march at the premises of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Abuja, and decried the ongoing mismanagement of monthly funds accruing to the commission, and appealed to the Federal Government to pay outstanding debts it owes NDDC contractors.
Salaco regretted that “the commission has been largely engaged with internal matters and has been redundant since Akpabio took over two years ago and one will expect that so many saving would have been made but empty treasury is the reality.”
The group, however, warned that “some key stakeholders who have been involved selflessly and silently in making efforts for peace in the region are almost giving up gradually on their peaceful roles mainly because of lack of sincerity from the Presidency. Well-meaning Niger Delta persons, groups, traditional and government authorities have made inputs by advising the President to ignore Akpabio and do the right thing.”
Salaco regretted that “the multi-national companies are now suffering silently, they have been exposed to confront host communities on their own. Nigeria as a major oil producing nation cannot meet up their OPEC production quota just because of some selfish individuals who want to line up their pockets with funds meant to sustain peace and development of a sensitive region like the Niger Delta.”
Izanzan Intellectual Camp, therefore, advised that “President Buhari should not take the role of stakeholders, mostly the various ethnic nationality representatives who are silently maintaining peace in the Niger Delta region for granted. It is in the best interest of the government led by President Buhari to Ignore Akpabio, and do the bidding of the people for peace, development and progress of the region especially now that the unrest deliberately fuelled by Akpabio is yet to explode.”
It would be recalled that Buhari had promised the nation on June 24, 2021, while receiving the Ijaw National Congress (INC) at the State House in Abuja, that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.
The president said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedevilled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”
However, the forensic audit report has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari since September 2, 2021, prompting the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to caution that “any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC Board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of state insensitivity on Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.”

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Police Nab Three Dowen College Students Over Sylvester’s Death

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The Lagos State Police Command, yesterday, arrested three students of Dowen College in connection to the death of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr.
Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, also confirmed that three out of the five students were already in custody, while two were currently at large.
This is as one week after the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni Junior; the Parents’ Forum of the school has demanded justice and also a change in the school management.
It would be recalled that late Sylvester Oromoni had mentioned five senior students allegedly responsible for the injuries he sustained when he was attacked at the Dowen College.
Sylvester was allegedly attacked by senior students of Dowen College, where he reportedly sustained internal injuries that resulted in his demise.
Over 100,000 had signed petitions to prosecute the perpetrators of the sad incident.
The Lagos State Government has since shut down the school, while the police have also commenced investigation into the matter.
However, one week after the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni Junior, the Parents’ Forum of the school has demanded justice and also a change in the school management.
The parents also demanded a change in hostel teachers and the installation of CCT cameras in the school.
The decisions were reached at an online meeting. In strong words against the death of the 12- year -old student, the parents said justice for Sylvester is justice for all and insisted that those involved should be brought to book.
A statement, yesterday, signed on behalf of the parents’ forum by Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, Waheed Adeoye, Oluwaseun Bolanle Ajila and Kingsley Kema Agu, reads: “This will not only bring this unfortunate incident to a closure for the family but will also serve as a deterrent to other juvenile delinquents in all schools in Nigeria.”
The parents demanded a change of school management team, hostel teachers, installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in all strategic places and overhaul of the school security system.
They decried the incident, and urged the school management team and other stakeholders to cooperate with the authority in the ongoing investigation into the death of Sylvester.
The parents’ forum agreed to organise candlelight on today, at Dowen College, adding “the lighting of candles is to pay tribute to a life ‘passed’, and keeping the light burning signifies that the memory still lives on and burns bright.
“Dowen College parents are startled and deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident that led to the death of Sylvester Oromoni. Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and pray to God to give them the strength to bear the irreparable loss.
“As parents of Dowen College students, we are still in shock and could not come to terms with this incident and the accounts so far provided by the school management, students and the media.
“We are, however, temporarily relieved by the swiftness with which the authorities intervened and commenced investigation towards unravelling the cause of Sylvester Oromoni’s death.
“We urge the school management team and other stakeholders to fully cooperate with the authority in the ongoing investigation. While we would have loved to bring Sylvester back, if humanly possible, unravelling the cause of his death and bringing whoever was responsible or might have contributed in whatever way to book, will not only bring this unfortunate incident to closure for the family but will also serve as a deterrent to other juvenile delinquents in all schools in Nigeria.
“On our part as parents, we will work more closely with the school (management/board) to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to prevent recurrence of this unfortunate incident and stamp out bullying in any form from the school.
“We will also continue to appeal to parents, through all available means, to show more interest in what their children do and who they associate with in school and at home.
“We appeal to the public to see this incident as an inflexion point, not only for Dowen College but also other schools in Nigeria, as recent events have shown that bullying, molestation and other vices among students are common in our schools.
“Therefore, we rely on the authorities for justice regardless of the social status of whoever is involved.
“What happened to Sylvester could have happened to any other child in the school. To many of the traumatised students, Sylvester was a classmate, a roommate, a schoolmate or a friend.
“We, therefore, earnestly ask for a resolution that will bring some relief to the bereaved family, other parents, students of Dowen College and the public. These should include a change of the school management and hostel teachers, installation of Closed Circuit Television cameras in all strategic places and overhauling of the school security system.

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