The Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, has accused his successor, Nyesom Wike, of encouraging insecurity in the state.
Mr. Amaechi was reacting to the killing of 21 persons on New Year Day. The victims were killes as they were returning from a Church event.
Speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, Mr. Amaechi said Gov. Wike needs to get serious and “stop encouraging the militant groups in the name of politics and election”.
The Minister said apart from the 21 persons killed in Omoku town, two others were killed in Akukuturo.
“I think there should be much more than age to qualify to be a governor because it takes much more than age.
“I was governor of Rivers State, I did not play PDP/APC politics, life is life, it has no symbol. Nobody has APC life or PDP life.
“The first responsibility of a governor which is what the oath of office requires, is that you swear to protect lives and property. When you don’t protect life and property what do you do? It’s impeachment.
Unfortunately there is no House of Assembly in Rivers State,” he said.
Mr. Amaechi accused Mr. Wike of making “too much noise”, saying “the governor just wakes up and starts shouting, abusing people. That’s all he does. The first thing you do is human capacity development and keeping human beings and we are losing lives every day”.
“Two important men were kidnapped before I left Port Harcourt, the first person is Chief Adoke till today, nearly one month after, nobody can tell you where he is. The next person is Chief Omogu who was kidnapped. Luckily, the villagers ran after the people and rescued the old man from the bush.
“It never happened when I was governor. We (the security and myself) ensured that we will not sleep at night. We stayed awake for the citizens to sleep, I think the governor needs to do much more than that or quit the office,” he said.
Mr. Amaechi also said unlike his time in office, when he said, the then President Goodluck Jonathan made him vulnerable by stopping all heads of security formations in the state from meeting with him, Mr. Wike has “everyone at his disposal”.
“He can see the commissioner of Police, director SSS, unlike my period; but we fought insecurity. But because he needs these people for election purpose that is why they are still there, that is why they are killing we need much more than that,” he said.
The Minister said he had earlier sworn not to speak about happenings in Rivers, but said he can’t “keep quiet in the face of 21 one lives, you can’t just keep quite”.
“I have said it that nobody should criticise our successor, let him do his beat but a successor that watches the lives of people go like that and does not care? God will bless him,” he said.
On his meeting with the president, Mr. Amaechi said they discussed the commissioning of 10 new coaches and two locomotives that would bring the total number of coaches to 14 on the Kaduna-Abuja route.
Mr. Buhari is expected to travel to Kaduna on Thursday to commission the coaches and an Inland Dry port.
“The president is pleased with the arrangement because basically we will then be able to discharge the passengers pressure that we have had, that is why you have ticket racketeering.
“When demand outstrips supply then you see all sorts of attempts to cheat the passengers,” he said.
The Minister said after the commissioning, ticket costs will be increased. He said the price will be increased because “even the passengers agree that the cost of transportation to kaduna via the railway is a bit too cheap”.
“So there will be a need to increase the price of the cost and then there will be more comfort. More comfort in the sense that when you have excess seats multiplied by the number of passengers that will come, then anybody that wants to racketeer will have to eat the tickets himself,” he said.
Mr. Amaechi said one of the locomotives will be dedicated to direct trips from Kaduna to Abuja non-stop, that should be doing 1:15 or 1:20 minutes non-stop.
“That will enable those living in Kaduna and working in Abuja to actually come to work on time. If you leave at 6am by 7:15, 7:20 you should be in Abuja,” he said.
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