Insists Rivers spends N1.8 Billion on pensioners monthly
By Davies Iheamnachor – Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has explained that the war against insecurity in the country has been difficult to be won because the Service Chiefs were becoming unprofessional.
Wike expressed regrets that security chiefs were given more attention to playing politics than ensuring the security of lives and property of the people, which is their core mandate.
This was as the governor also stated that the State Government spends N1.8 billion monthly to pay pensioners in the state, wondering why people claim that the state was not meeting its obligations to the retirees.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, after the official presentation of a letter of nomination to Wike for the “2020 Extra-Ordinary Personality of the Year Award” by the management of Silverbird Group at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Speaking, the Governor bemoaned that the next President of the country would spend his tenure fixing the ethnic, religious, and socio-economic challenges created by the All Progressives Congress, APC, adding the present administration has deepened religious, the cultural crisis in the nation.
He noted that since the APC administration assumed office in 2015, religious intolerance and ethnic division have deepened, adding that despite the glaring insecurity, religious and ethnic division in the country, the officials of FG have continued claiming that the was now more united and secure than ever.
Wike attributed the seeming inability of the military to end insurgency in the North East and other parts of the country to the involvement of sacked Service Chiefs, particularly former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai in politics.
He said: “You were witnesses to how under Buratai, the army was exposed to politics, which have never happened in the history of this country. The army began to carry ballot boxes. I have never seen that. Before we used to talk about police, now it’s no longer the police.
“Professionalism is no longer there and that is why it is difficult to fight insecurity. Instead of then to concentrate and map out a strategy, they are interested in Rivers State. Who will we send there to make sure the election is rigged. The former Chief of Army Staff will even call INEC to cancel the Rivers State election because of his interest. I have never seen this kind of thing in my life.”
The governor said it was regrettable that the former Chief of Army Staff failed to condemn his personnel who invaded INEC office in Port Harcourt a day after the Rivers State governorship election in 2019 in an attempt to subvert the wishes of the people, instead, he chose to shield them from prosecution.
“If there is a country that really means well for its citizens, the former GOC in Rivers State would have been dismissed from the Army, but because he was sent by his so-called leaders, they have to protect him. That is the country that we are in, and that is why we think the media should come up and tell the world some of these stories.”
The River State Governor commended the management of Silverbird for the recognition but regretted it was disturbing that the Nigerian Media has failed in its responsibility to hold the present administration accountable for failure to provide much-desired good governance.
“The problem in Nigeria which I have always said is that the press, the media is part of our headache. The media have lost their voice. I remember when Goodluck Jonathan was the President, it was as if the media want to pull down the whole of Nigeria.”
Wike also explained that the state spends N1.8 billion to pay pensioners in the state monthly.
In his words: “Our State pays not less than 1.8Billion Naira every month for pensioners. People told me that there is news that the government does not pay pensioners. I cannot spend 1.8Billion Naira every month to pay pensioners and you will say I don’t pay pensioners, is not true.”
Meanwhile, the Silverbird Creative Development General Manager, Jacob Akinyemi Johnson, said the award was to let the governor know that he was doing a good job for the people of Rivers State, adding efforts of the governor to better the state has not gone unnoticed.
He explained that Governor Wike was nominated as the Silverbird Extra Ordinary Personality of the Year 2020 because of the projects he has embarked upon and his fearlessness.
Johnson said: “There are very few Governors like you who work the work and talk the talk and there are very few Governors like you who have the passion and not sentimental. You say things the way they are and you also say the things that you believed in. So we sat back and we said the person we can think of this year is your Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Also in the area of projects, the last time I was here, you were referred to as Mr. Projects. Now you have been elevated to Mr. Quality Projects.
“You promised on the day you were sworn in for the second term that you will work for Rivers State people to the very last day and you are living up to that task. Seven bridges in a record period of time and all these are embarked upon in 2020 when the country and indeed the entire world was greatly impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, but you still delivered despite all these things.”