Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to beam a searchlight on the activities of the National Boundary Commission (NBC) as it now personifies corruption in Nigeria.
Wike also warned those conspiring against Rivers State in any form and manner to be ready to experience devastating downfall in life.
He made the assertion at a special thanksgiving service of Rivers State, yesterday, over the legal victory secured at the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the oil well dispute between Rivers and Imo states, held at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Port Harcourt.
Wike said, at the inception of his administration, Rivers State was dedicated to God, and has since then enjoyed his protection, including its people and natural resources.
The Rivers governor explained that the oil wells in Akri and Mgbede communities, though in dispute, awaited the proper boundary demarcation by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).
“While the waiting was on, there was a political understanding between Imo State and Rivers State that Dr. Peter Odili of Rivers State and Achike Udenwa of Imo State acceded to when they were both serving as governors”.
Wike noted as regrettable and an act of greed, that former Imo State Governor, Hon Emeka Ihedioha; and the current Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma; rescinded the political arrangement of 50:50 sharing formula of the proceeds from the disputed oil wells in Akri and Mgbede communities.
“This young man (Emeka Ihedioha), just within four/five months he became a governor, went to see Mr. President. He wrote to Mr. President that Rivers State is owing Imo State N15billion, and therefore, they should take the money from Rivers State, that the oil wells we are sharing on the 50:50 formula amicably, belong to them.
“This is someone Rivers people, not Rivers State Government, supported, and spent money on. I’ve never seen a betrayal like this in my life that the former governor, Emeka Ihedioha displayed.
“Rivers people who helped him had sleepless night to make him the governor of Imo State. We did everything we could do, thinking that we were supporting a friend. All we got was a stab at the back.”
Wike informed that eventually, at the behest of President Muhammedu Buhari, the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari wrote a letter to the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC).
The letter, he said, directed for the deduction of N15billion from Rivers State and the handover of the disputed oil wells to Imo State as requested by Emeka Ihedioha.
“But because of the sharp and very focus and honest commissioner of finance that we have in Rivers State, the letter bearing the instruction to take N15billion from us, and the oil wells to be taken away from us was intercepted.
“We rushed to the Federal High Court to contest that Mr. President has no power to direct you to do this and the court agreed with us that yes Mr. President has no power to do this. That if there is anybody to do this it is the National Boundary Commission.
“Unfortunately, the most corrupt national agency is the National Boundary Commission (NBC). Corruption is personified in NBC.
“If Mr President is fighting corruption, he should leave innocent individuals and go to these agencies where corruption is personified. I’ve never seen people who believe anything they do must be for money.
“They will abandon their function and create problems between states when there is not supposed to be problems. They will not do the right work so that the states can live in harmony.”
Wike said the legal battle was pursued to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, with archival documents submitted with sound legal presentations from the 21 Senior Advocate of Nigeria on the Rivers legal term.
Eventually, Wike pointed out that there was final determination of the owner of the oil wells and where they are situated, in favour of Rivers State, despite the protesters governor Hope Uzodinma sponsored to discredit the judges.
He expressed delight over the legal victory secured and reclaiming of Rivers assets that will further provide needed financial resource to his successor to use in developing the state.
“But we had hope in God. If God says it is for Rivers, there is nothing anybody can do about it. But I wondered why it should be in my time that Rivers asset will be taken away. Politicians will come and say, it was in his time that Rivers State lost these oil well.
“And so, you may see how in my mind I am over happy, that I am leaving and not leaving liability behind for the state and my successor.”
Wike said the Government of Rivers State is open to dialogue with elders of Imo State on the issue of the oil wells which the apex court had declared belongs to the state.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Niger Delta North in the Anglican Province of Niger Delta, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Budu Ihunwo, thanked God for granting Rivers State victory at the Supreme Court.
Fubara Set To Create New Cities In Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has disclosed that arrangements are at advanced stages to achieve the development of new cities in the state that would help to decongest Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
Fubara said that the new cities would end the one city status of Rivers State and attract more investors into the state.
The governor stated this when he inspected the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority’s (GPHCDA) office and project sites in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
Fubara said: “I can assure you that in our time, we might not achieve the dream of that big city in four years, but we will add a few things that would also help us in getting at that target.
“This is because, we are thinking of decongesting the present one city state that we have, which is Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor. We are thinking of developing other parts of the state and our coming here is to see what the agency has been doing, what you have done already and what we can also do to make us achieve more new cities in our state.”
Fubara noted that despite the challenges the agency has been facing, there would be remarkable difference in what it would achieve within his tenure if the agency’s development ideals are aligned with those of the state government.
He, however, charged the agency to be self-sustaining by attracting investors as outlined by its establishment law.
Also speaking, the Sole Administrator of GPHCDA, Amb Desmond Akawor, said that since its establishment in 2009 by the Greater Port Harcourt Law, the agency has been slowed down in creating more cities because of its operational structure and the nature of the Public-Private Partnership it adopted.
Akawor, who is the Rivers State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), explained that a new legal framework has been fine-tuned by the last GPHDA board, which the current management would present to the governor.
He said: “I am sure that with your directives, we will be able to reschedule some of the projects so that we can move forward with all of our partners, especially in the area of reforming or strengthening the public private partnership arrangements.”
Majority Leader Seeks Immortalisation Of Slain DPO
The Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Edison Ehie, has appealed to the Police High Command to consider the immortalisation of the murdered Divisional Police Officer(DPO) in charge of Ahoada East Divisional Headquarters, SP Bako Angbashim, and commiserated with the State Commissioner of Police, CP Emeka Nwonyi; officers and men of the Police Force; and the family of the deceased over the brutal murder of the DPO.
Ehie, who made the appeal in a statement said the slain DPO deserves to be immortalised as he was a gallant, fearless and courageous police officer who distinguished himself in the fight against criminals and bandits in the State, adding that the calamitous killing and decapitation of the DPO by Mr Gift David Okpara Okpolowu, alias 2 Baba and his criminal gang is “an unprecedented low which shocked me beyond words and threw my constituents into an endless mourning circle”.
As the Honourable member representing Constituency 2 at the Rivers State House of Assembly and the incumbent Leader of the House, Ehie said he is using this medium to unreservedly condemn the senseless killing and decapitation of the DPO, and also to reiterate the call for the immediate apprehension and prosecution of his killers and everyone associated with the condemnable act.
Describing SP Angbashim as a gallant, fearless and courageous police officer who distinguished himself in the fight against criminals and bandits in the State, the lawmaker said the slain DPO was the one who single-handedly restored peace and order in Ogoniland.
“Even within the few months he spent in Ahoada East Local Government Area, the results of his gallantry were visible for all to see and appreciate.This is why his killing is not only calamitous and lamentable, but an affront to the government of the day in the State”, he said, adding that no government worths its salt will fold it’s arms and allow criminals and bandits to freely prey on its citizenry in order to make the State ungovernable.
On this score, therefore, Ehie thanked the Governor of the State, Sir SiminalayiFubara for prompt response to the situation which he said has already started yielding wonderful fruits, with some of the criminals associated with the killing of the DPO now under police detention and interrogation.
He also thanked and commend the officers and men of the Police Force as well as operatives of other sister security agencies in the State for their uniquely stellar efforts in fishing out the killers of the DPO.
The Majority Leader, however, called on all Ekpeye people, traditional rulers, chiefs, political elites and the general public to gratuitously assist and work with the police and other security agencies in ensuring that the killers of SP Angbashim are fished out, apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law, saying, “May our State never again witness this type of murderous orgy and life wastage”.
Ehie also appealed to the Police High Command in the State to consider the immortalisation of the slain DPO, while also appealing for meaningful and deserving support to his family and dependants.
While conveying his heart-felt condolences to the Nigerian Police, especially the officers and men of the Rivers State Police Command, the lawmaker prayed the Almighty God to grant them the fortitude to bear the monumental loss. He equally extended his deepest condolences to the family of the DPO, and prayed God to console them and heal their wounds.
Ehie further noted that “the biggest debt we collectively owe SP Bako Angbashim is to redress his killing by arresting his killers and subjecting them to justice.”
Appeal Court Upholds Banigo’s Senatorial Election Victory
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, upheld the judgment of the Rivers State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that declared Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the Rivers West Senatorial District Election held on February 25, 2023.
The Appellant Court, in her judgment, dismissed the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial Candidate, Hon. Asita O. Asita as “lacking in merit”.
In her reaction shortly after the verdict at the court premises, the Banigo hailed the judgment, describing it as an “incontrovertible victory of irreversible Senate seat”.
She expressed gratitude to the Almighty God, the leaders/stakeholders of the PDP and the entire members of the Rivers West Senatorial District for their unflinching support.
Banigo assured them of her loyalty and total commitment towards realising the tenets of her Kingdom Mandate.
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