Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike and m Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi at the weekend traded words over the latter’s attribution of insecurity in Rivers to high level of unemployment.
Amaechi, who spoke on Sunday while receiving defectors to the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Wike destroyed all the programmes and projects of job creation he instituted in the state as Governor.
The immediate past commissioners for Urban Development and Rural Planning, Dr. Reason Onya, and Agriculture, Charles Nwaorgu and their supporters left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC.
The Minister said as Governor, his administration established many agricultural programmes that created job opportunities for the youths.
He said: “Rivers State is in danger, completely. A state where properties are collected and somebody is busy building everywhere and nobody is talking.
“When I was Governor, God knows, I did my best. I did not build only roads, I built schools. I did not build only roads, I built electricity. I built farms. I created employment. Rivers State was not among the highest unemployed community in Nigeria.
“I felt that you employed me. I was not your master; I was your servant.
I was not a contractor. I paid contractors so that they can pay their workers and the money will circulate.
“The reason why crime is high in Rivers State is because of unemployment. That the reason why we had the Songhai Farm. Today, the Songhai Farm is gone. That is why we had the Banana Farm that they stopped in Khana.
“That is why we had fish farms and that is why we were building a farm in Etche. We were doing all those things to create employment for the youths. That is why we hired 13,200 teachers and that is why we sent our children overseas to study.”
But Wike, in a swift reaction, said it was disingenuous for Amaechi, to attribute insecurity in the state to unemployment.
He said: “Is unemployment fuelling insecurity in Kaduna, Plateau , Borno, Yobe, Ondo, Ebony, Imo, Niger States governed by the All Progressives Congress (APC)?”
The Governor, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said if the Minister, who is the immediate past Governor, had any modicum of sincerity, he would attest to the fact that security is the sole responsibility of the federal government.
He said: “Is he (Amaechi) trying to indict his boss, President Muhammad Buhari, who is the Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and who is constitutionally saddle with the responsibility to provide security for Nigerians.
“It is a well known fact that Amaechi is the one who appoints every Commissioner of Police that has been posted to Rivers State since 2015. So, if there is any security failure, he is to blame.”
Wike described the minister’s utterance on the current imposition of curfew in the state, following the recent attacks on police formations, as rather unfortunate.
He said: “Perhaps, the minister is happy that members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are killing innocent policemen , who were protecting lives and property. Is Amaechi happy that the weapons of these slain security personnel were carted away by the hoodlums? Amaechi, from all indication has lost focus and is now frustrated.”
The Governor declared that his administration had offered scholarship to over 500 Rivers students to study medicine and other related courses at the PAMO University.
Reacting to allegation by the Minister that he was acquiring property in the state, the Governor said it was better to acquire property in Nigeria than to do so in Ghana.
Wike said Amaechi jubilation over the defection of his former Commissioner of Urban and Rural Planning, who was indicted by a Judicial Commission of inquiry, was a pointer that he is politically irrelevant in Rivers.
The Governor further urged the Minister to return to Abuja and resolve the financial malfeasance rocking federal agencies under his watch, and desist from destroying the homes of others.