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$1b To Fight Boko Haram War: Gov. Wike Demands Special Fund For Niger Delta

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* Fayose absent at governors’ meeting, says Zamfara governor

…...Fayose cannot query us over $1b approved

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the APC-Federal Government must as a matter of urgency release funds for tackling issues of environmental degradation and security in the Niger Delta. 

Governor Wike said while he would not condemn the release of $1billion to tackle Boko Haram, the environmental and security challenges  in the Niger Delta far outweigh the Boko Haram conflict. 

The governor spoke during the Annual General Meeting of Okpo Club of Nigeria (Association of Ikwerre Lawyers) yesterday in Port Harcourt. 

He requested the APC, Federal Government to release the derivation component of the Excess Crude to the oil producing states  of the Niger Delta.

He said: “Niger Delta environmental problems are as serious as the Boko Haram Insurgency. I am not saying that you should not fight Boko Haram. 

“If you can get funds from the national pool to tackle  Boko Haram, then you should go to the pool to get funds to fight environmental problems in Ogoni and other Niger Delta communities.”

Commenting  on politics in Rivers State, Governor Wike urged all ethnic nationalities to work together to fast track development in the state. 

He said no ethnic nationality in the state could succeed without others, hence the need for greater cooperation at all levels.

The governor also called on the people of the state to always work for relevance in the political  terrain of the country so that the state could attract development.

Former NBA President , Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN), commended Governor Wike  for his commitment  to the  development of the state. 

He assured him of the support of Ikwerre lawyers as he worked for the people of Rivers State. 

Chairman of Okpo Club of Nigeria, Mr Chukwuma Chinwo said the club would continue to mobilise Ikwerre lawyers for the development of the area.

Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia said the Association of Ikwerre Lawyers had grown over the years to become a catalyst for development. 

Highpoint of the occasion was the celebration of the birthday of the Rivers State governor by members of the Association of Ikwerre lawyers.

 

Fayose absent at govs’ meeting –Zamfara gov

…Says, ‘Ekiti gov can’t query us’

From Juliana

Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari, has reacted to Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, criticism of $1 billion approved by the forum to aid the fight of insurgency in the north east.

He said contrary to Fayose’s reaction it was endorsed by all the governors present because they saw reason, adding that if the Ekiti Governor was present at the meeting, he would have seen the wisdom in the decision.

Fayose, had alleged that the $1 billion to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account, and ploughed into the battle with insurgency is a ruse, but money that would rather go for President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaigns for 2019 presidential election.

Fayose in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said: “Since they said they have defeated Boko Haram, what else do they need a whopping sum of $1 billion (over N360 billion) for, if not to fund the 2019 elections? For posterity’s sake, I wish to place it on record that I was not among the governors who approved the withdrawal of almost half of our savings in the Excess Crude Account, which belongs to the three tiers of government to fight an already defeated insurgency,” he declared.

But Yari Abubakar, who is also Governor of Zamfara State, in his reaction explained that the decision, to allow the Federal Government to access the amount was a collective one by the Forum, and that absenteeism from the meeting does not exculpate anyone from responsibility from the Forum’s resolutions.

“I am saying that, that statement was an unfair cut against the Forum,” Governor Yari Abubakar said, “when a decision is taken by the Forum in one’s absence, once there was a quorum at the meeting where the decision was taken, it becomes binding on all. I am sure Fayose was not making the statement to undermine the Forum. He was just doing his thing”.

The NGF Chairman rationalized that the decision was a conscious sign by the two parties to show the synergy between the NGF and the Presidency, which ought not to be politicized, but consolidated. “This same lack of unity between governors and the presidency had brought about poor governance in the past, throughout the country and now that we are working together no one should constitute a wedge in the process.”

He added that “you can never spend too much on security because the safety of lives and property are the most cardinal among all the principles of governance, in any democracy.”

Governor Yari Abubakar said that the issue of drawing from the ECA was very broadly deliberated at the Forum’s meeting on the eve of the National Economic Council meeting where the decision was taken. “If Governor Fayose was there at the meeting, he would have seen the wisdom in the decision. Yes, the administration is claiming to have decimated the insurgents out of Sambisa Forest but they are reemerging in different flashpoints across the country. They need to be tackled wherever they are and the NGF decided to support the Presidency just as it (The Presidency) had been supporting states with their own problems,” Governor Yari Abubakar argued.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum who spoke on the phone from Zamfara even contemplates addressing a world press conference on the matter to clear the air, and show how seriously we cherish human lives.

“Governor Fayose is on his own. We have to protect our people and we have to do it with everything we have,” Governor AbdulAziz Yari Abubakar emphasized, adding that “let me reemphasize one more thing, Mr President is a responsible and honest leader who does not believe in money politics and he would never divert public resources into it.”

In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has also thrown its weight behind the governors’ decision to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to fight Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East region. The APC-led federal government and the governors who had come under severe attacks from the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has in a text message from the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said that the ruling party solidly backs the governors’ decision.

Obviously replying to a text message on the 2019 hidden intent of the fund, the party’s spokesperson said: “The governors have responded. I don’t have anything to add.”        (The Sun)

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