The statement accredited to President Mohammadu Buhari on the Rivers state legislative rerun elections has continued to generate condemnation in the political circle with some calling on the President to refrain from being deceived by some members of his kitchen cabinet.
Buhari had on Thursday last week, at the National Executive Council meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, said Rivers was the deadliest state in Nigeria. “I think that more Nigerians are killed or killed themselves in Rivers than in any particular state”.
Responding to the statement, former national youth leader of the Action Congress, AC, Miriki Ebikibina said the crisis in the Rivers state rerun would have been avoided if Buhari had open a channel of communication between him and the state governor, Nyesom Wike.who is the chief security officer of the state.
Disagreeing with the President that Rivers is the most deadly state in Nigeria, Miriki said the statement was far from the truth. “In the north east, people die every day and much more since Buhari took over power last May. Boko Haram kill, maim and destroy properties on daily basis.
“It is very unfortunate that the President could describe Rivers state as the deadliest state in Nigeria. What will he describe the killing of over 300 people by Fulani herds men in Agatu, Benue state? We should stop being sensational about the Rivers state crisis”, he said.
On his part, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Mr. Emmanuel Aguma said the President’s statement was “unfortunate” because he allows himself to be fed with falsehood.
“First and foremost, I find the president’s statement quite unfortunate. But, I also do not blame him because he does not live in Rivers State and he only acts on information he is fed. I believe that the information given to him is totally and completely distorted,” said Aguma, who is also the Attorney General of Rivers State at an interview session on Friday, March 25, 2016.
“More people are not dying in Rivers State than in Borno State, where Boko Haram is performing unconscionable acts of violence. More people are not dying in Rivers State than in Yobe State. More people are not dying in Rivers State than in the North East region. Even right now, in Benue, the amount of people being killed in Benue is unthinkable. We heard the case of Agatu where they [the security agencies] are saying they never saw graves with 300 people, but that is their business. The fact is that more people are dying in Benue State than in Rivers State.”
“So I believe that statement of the president was informed by the falsehood being peddled by former Governor Amaechi and his gang and being fed to the President through the Department of State Security’s leadership and it is totally and completely false.
“If such people are being killed, how come the Federal High Court is still sitting in Port Harcourt? How come the Federal Court of Appeal is still sitting in Port Harcourt? How come the State High Court is sitting? How come Federal Secretariat is working? How come INTELS is here?
“How come the banks are open? How come the markets are there? How come the street hawkers are hawking on a daily basis? How come bus services are working? How come you have never heard any exceptional bomb explosion with headlines like ‘300 People Dead’, ‘Man Shoots At Market, Everybody DEAD!’?
“You have never heard any such things. The only thing you hear is gangland killings in Amokur and election day killing by APC members. That is all you hear in Rivers State.”
Aguma went on to ask “the people feeding you (Buhari) with information, that made you come to this conclusion, are feeding you with lies and more lies. Rivers is part of your territory. Please come to visit us and see. I am asking you not as a government official. I am appealing as a citizen, for you Mr. President to come and see for yourself, and appreciate for yourself, and know for yourself that there is nothing wrong with Rivers State. Nobody is killing anybody. It is sheer propaganda.
“It is also necessary for you to come and know that Rivers people have nothing against you, Mr. President. The person Rivers people have anything against is Amaechi, Rotimi Amaechi for his misrule of the state.
“You have never ruled Rivers State before, they have no basis to assess you. You have no problem with the government of Rivers, you have not problem with the people of Rivers State.
“But Rotimi Amaechi has problem with them [the people of Rivers], they will never vote for him. The one they gave him in the past is enough, they don’t want anymore of him. That is the bottom line.”
He stated that Nigeria’s minister of Transportation (Rotimi Amaechi) was a major liability for the APC in Rivers saying the political party, which had just lost a legislative elections in the state was ‘practically dead’ in Rivers because of the presence of Amaechi in the Party.
“And it [the rejection of Amaechi] has affected the fortunes of APC in Rivers State and made APC a practically dead political party in Rivers State.
“So, they will tell you, it is because people are being killed that is why they are losing elections. They are the ones killing people. They will tell you that Rivers State is insecure; they are the ones responsible for the insecurity. They will tell you all sorts of stories, but whatever they tell you is what they are doing.”
“Rotimi Amaechi’s rampage and assault on River State is akin to a man who builds a house, puts it out to let, but warns tenants that it is cockroach infested, it is snake invested, it is reptile infested. Is such a landlord sane?