Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari was under pressure at ‘some point in the past’ to declare a state of emergency in the state.
The governor, who is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also said the lives of animals are treated better under the present administration.
“When I went to see the President, he told me that he was under pressure to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State,” a Government House statement quoted Mr. Wike to have said on Friday when he received the Anglican Bishops of Niger Delta Province who visited him at the Government House.
The governor did not, however, mention when, and why, the president made the remark.
Apart from political tension caused by hotly contested elections which are oftentimes marred by violence and killings, Rivers has witnessed several cult-related violence and killings, the latest one being the gruesome killing of 17 people in Omoku on New Year Day.
The opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state is accusing the governor of “working with” cult kingpins and lacking the capacity to tackle insecurity in the state. Mr. Wike denies this.
Mr. Wike told the Anglican bishops that his state ceased to be the focus of the APC-controlled federal government because of “mass insecurity across the country”.
“Those things they planned to use in declaring a state of emergency in Rivers State fell on their own states and it became difficult to do so,” he said.
“When you sit and plot evil against Rivers State, you will not know peace. If they don’t apologise for plotting and executing evil against Rivers State, they will never know peace.”
The governor accused President Buhari of not showing interest on the recent killing in Benue State, saying that in some other countries the president would have visited the area to assess the situation even if the lives lost were fewer in number.
“Human lives are not respected,” he said. “In fact, the lives of cows and chicken appear to be more important than human lives.
“This has nothing to do with politics. Let us not trivialise the catastrophy that has befallen Nigeria,” he added.
Mr. Wike, who said that his state survived by the prayers of the clerics and the church, urged the church to show interest in the nation’s politics.
“If you don’t participate in what is happening through voting, the country will degenerate further. People should acquire their permanent voter’s card to enthrone the leadership they desire,” he said.
Mr. Wike reiterated his administration’s plan to set up a Christian Trust Fund to cater for indigent clerics and told the bishops that a proposal to that effect was already in the 2018 budget of the state.
The bishops, led by the Anglican Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, Ignatius Kattey, told the governor that they were in the Government House to thank him for his role in the success of the Anglican Synod.
The bishops, who were accompanied by their wives, presented an award to the governor.
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