Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has urged the new Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya to prevent his officers from abandoning their professional duties and getting involved in mainstream politics.
Giving the charge when he hosted the new Chief of Army Staff on a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday evening, the Governor noted how the fight against insecurity has suffered set back because Army officers became partisan and could not stand on the side of professional practice because of their bias.
He recalled a situation in Rivers State when the Army turned the 6 Division into an election collation centre during the 2019 general elections in the state.
He stated that his administration is always willing and ready to work with all the security agencies in the fight against criminality in Rivers State.
“I don’t understand why we cannot remove politics from our jobs. Let’s do our jobs and keep the country going. I can tell you that I’m willing and ready to work with all the security agencies, not only the army”, the Governor stated.
He added; “The gunboats we are providing are almost ready. We have paid for everything. We will also provide vehicles. All I need is the security of my people. I’m here to partner with you.
“I am here to make sure that lives and property are protected. I do so by giving support to the security agencies to protect lives and property. To protect our natural assets.”
Wike pointed out that banditry, kidnapping and agitations were different dimensions of crimes that have put Nigeria in dire situations stressing that no form of criminality should be condoned and that those agitating against perceived injustice and seeking to address their grievances, should not adopt violence.
The governor restated his belief in the unity of Nigeria because it was God who put the different people together and such a decision cannot be a mistake.
He said; “There must be differences. There must be anger. It is for us to sit down to discuss it. I have said generally that I am not against anybody agitating for whatever you want to agitate. My take is that you cannot be violent.
“So if anybody says they’re agitating, I have no problem. But don’t agitate to say I’m part of you. No, don’t do that. I am the Governor of Rivers State, with all due respect. I must make sure the territory called Rivers State must not be taken away by anybody or a group of people. It is my responsibility to protect it.
“I believe in the unity of this country. I believe that God did not make mistake to say there should be a country called Nigeria”, the governor stated.
He went on to explain that his administration was getting rid of shanties that have served as criminal hideouts for hoodlums who are disturbing the peace of the state.
He said the action was not targeted at any group of persons and urged them to stop reading ethnic or religious colouration into the government’s action.
In his speech, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya, said he was in Port Harcourt on an operation visit to 6 Division of Nigerian Army, having just assumed command of the Nigeria Army recently.
According to him, he is also using his visit to officially open the Combat Support Training Week and has invited the governor to be their Special Guest of Honour.
“It is usual to go round formations and units under the command to see on the ground the troops, interact, and assess their readiness including their achievements and challenges.
“In doing that, it is also usual to pay respect and courtesy on the governor of the state. I want to appreciate you, having received brief from the Nigerian Officer Commanding on all the supports that you have been providing for the Nigerian Army, indeed the military, in Rivers state.”
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