Rivers State Governor , Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the state is not in contention with the Federal Government as it remains committed to the unity, progress and indivisibility of the country.
Speaking on Monday at the Special Town Hall Meeting between the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Rivers State Stakeholders at the Government House, Port Harcourt said: “it is important for us to emphasize that the Government of Rivers State is not and cannot by any stretch of imagination be in contention with the Federal Government.
“We stand for the unity, progress and indivisibility of this nation and part of our mandate is to partner with the Federal Government to move the State and by extension, the nation forward”.
The governor said: “We have severally demonstrated this commitment from the very beginning of our administration with discernible actions. For instance, even without prompting from the Federal Government we mobilized some stakeholders to rehabilitate the East – West road, from Eleme junction to Onne junction, with about three billion naira. Today, that part of the road, which leads to the economic heartland of the nation, including the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone is in good shape because of our singular efforts.
“Also, that Rivers State is least affected by the spate of attacks on oil pipelines and other facilities by militants is not by accident but by the deliberate and direct involvement of the State government in ensuring that these vital national economic infrastructure are protected and insulated from such ferocious attacks by the hoodlums.
“Furthermore, the State Government has spent and continues to spend a lot of money to support the security agencies to fight crime and safeguarded lives and property in the State.
“Only recently, we spent over a million dollars to procure a sophisticated surveillance device for the use of the police and the DSS to facilitate the tracking and arrest of kidnappers as well as rescue of kidnap victims in the State. Regrettably, this equipment is stuck at the port because of the refusal of the federal Government to grant the waiver that is needed.”
Governor Wike said despite the contributions of Rivers State to the resource base of the nation, it has been denied access to developmental projects.
He said: “Rivers State alone accounts for not less than a third of Nigeria’s earnings from the export of hydrocarbon resources, yet there is little or nothing to show for the State’s contributions to the national resource pool, which is being used on a massive scale to develop other parts of the country.
“Thus, the lack of tangible federal projects and development attention from the Federal Government are some of the underlying problems that must be addressed as quickly as possible to give our people a sense of belonging.”
The governor wondered why the Federal Government has refused to reciprocate the kind gestures of the Rivers State Government after all its positive investments.
He urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency tackle cases of underdevelopment in the state. He urged the Federal Government to tackle the East West road, rehabilitation of Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt and Onne Seaports and the completion of the Bodo-Bonny road.
He regretted the failure of the Federal Government to allow work to commence on the construction of the 7th train of the Nigeria LNG Project in Bonny Land.
The governor appealed to the Federal Government to give life to the Ogoni clean up project which has remained dormant after it was flagged off.
In his remarks, the Leader of the Elders of Rivers State, Onueze Okocha (SAN) said: “I want to state categorically that the government and people of Rivers State do not consider that they are at war with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This does not seem to be the case and in recent times , it would appear that the Federal Government and its ministries, departments and agencies have tended to act, or omitted to act , as if they have problems with Rivers State “.
In her address, Representative of Women, Ankio Briggs called on the Buhari administration to ensure that the restore the security details of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, otherwise Rivers women will provide security for the governor.
Similarly, Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja called for the restoration of the security of Governor Wike. He said failure to do would mean that the Federal Government wants the governor to come to harm.
Oil producing communities also demanded for developmental projects and empowerment of their people.
Responding, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo assured the people of Rivers State that the Rivers State that the Federal government will tackle their grievances.