#EndSARS: South-East govs claim FG’s intervention initiatives ― Minister
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah has alleged that south-east governors usually claim, as their own, intervention initiatives from the federal government for political expediency.
Speaking to State House correspondents on the report he presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of his town hall meetings with the people of his state he embarked upon in the wake of the #EndSARS protests,
When he was asked why there was a gap in communicating federal government policies to the people of South East, he blamed the situation on partisan politics.
The minister said: “If you look at it you will know that the entire South East is governed by PDP. Most of the federal government interventions are not communicated to the people, they try to appropriate these interventions.
“That is one reason you need to understand but we have tried as much as possible to let them understand that these are the things that the federal government has been doing.
“In most of the states you see the governors converting most of these interventions as their own party’s interventions rather than the federal government intervention, so these are the reasons.”
The Minister also justified the heavy presence of military and police in the South-East geopolitical zone, saying specifically that the people requested for them to boost investments in the zone.
He absolved the police from allegations of extortion in the South East following complaints that Police were still mounting roadblocks in the region for extortion activities.
He explained: “But one thing I am a history student, I always like to tell people history. if you remember there was a time the economy of the entire South East eroded as a result of the kidnapping. We actually invited the security forces down to South East.
“Remember (General Azubuike) Ihejirika (former Chief of Army Staff) was then… even a governor in my own state could not operate as a governor. Kidnappers were unable to allow him to operate. We invited the army, we invited the police, we invited everybody, the entire South-East economy eroded, nothing was going on in the entire South East.
“Most times, I don’t always want to agree when people want to say that people are being extorted because I pass through the same road. You can always say you have long queues because people are being stopped and search, it’s not because of extortion, that is one.
“So, basically I believe that when we talk about these security issues, we need to exercise caution because the presence of the military in South East gives more opportunity for people to invest because people are convinced that there is security.
“Remember what happened in Anambra State, let me use that as an example. When the governor came in, Anambra was a place where nobody gets into when the governor came in, he descended on all the kidnappers, they were demolishing their (kidnappers) houses. Today, if you go to Anambra state, you will see a whole lot of investments coming into that state.
“So, let us look at it from that point of view that these people are equally… there is nothing that has no pros and (cons), when you look at it, it has its negative and positive attributes.
“So, I don’t want us to always look at it as people are being extorted, no, the benefit of their presence in the South East has encouraged a lot of investments in the South East.”
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