“Lawyer, you must make money but here don’t worry yourself; nobody (opposition) would win here,” he said during the event, urging opposition parties not to waste their resources campaigning in the state.
“I told David Umahi, Governor of Kogi (Yahaya Bello), and Abubakar Malami (Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) when they came to visit me, ‘Don’t put money here it won’t work; it is a no-go area’,” the governor added.
According to him, his government already has a successor and that is based on the good works of his administration.
“In my state, we know who is going to be my successor. I want to advise you if you are spending money on anybody, stop,” Wike said.
“Here, we have a successor. It is not by my power but by what we have done in this state. It is not that I want to impose a successor. It is not true. Bring a successor and tell people why you want to bring a successor.”
Wike, who is a former minister, has been at loggerheads with the leadership of the main opposition party since he lost the party’s presidential ticket to Atiku Abubakar. The governor claimed the process was unfair, asking the PDP national chairman Iyorchia Ayu to quit his position since he (Ayu) and the former vice president are from the northern region.
While efforts to reconcile Wike alongside his allies have failed thus far, the party’s echelon is optimistic that a truce would be reached before the country goes to the polls next February.
But Wike’s political romance with top members of the opposition, observers say, is a major concern for the PDP who have been out of power at the centre since 2015.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has identified the intractable insecurity situation in Nigeria as one reason why most professionals leave the shores of the country in droves for greener pastures.
Governor Wike spoke on the cause of brain drain at the inauguration of the Renal/Dialysis Centre and House Officers Quarters at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The Rivers State governor maintained that welfare of doctors and other professionals are not primarily the sole reasons for brain drain in the country.
He noted that because of the looming unemployment situation in the country, most people now opt going outside of Nigeria for the dream job they required.
Even when some of professionals are employed within Nigeria, governor Wike insisted that such persons are not provided with the requisite equipment to use in their various organisations and industries.
“When you talk about brain drain, it is not only associated with the medical profession. So many people leave this country because of unemployment. So many people have left this country because of insecurity. So many people have left this country because where they work the equipment is not there.
“It is not only just because of welfare, that is why you see brain drain, no. It is not correct. Even professors in the university in the various faculties of law, faculties of engineering most of them leave because the tools to work are not there.
“But you are lucky you (RSUTH staff) have the tools here. So, clap for us first that we have provided the basic things. Today, you’re lucky, you’re working in a teaching hospital where you can find the equipment, at least, to make your job easier for you. So, it is not as bad as where the equipment are not there.”
Governor Wike reiterated that it was out of grateful heart that he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of 13% derivative fund arrears, from 1999 to date, that was never paid by previous administration to States in Niger Delta.
He wondered why saying thank you is an offense and a particular governor feels offended over the thank you said to President Buhari over the release.
The said governor, according to governor Wike had gone in national television to say that money spent to do a 3km road in his State would be used to construct more than 15 flyovers elsewhere.
“Simply because I said you people should thank President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 13 percent arrears to us. I did not abuse anybody. Did I? All I said is please thank him, that if he did not release this arrears to me and some of our states, it may have been difficult for me to even talk about building a Renal Centre, Cancer and Cardiovascular centre, Basic and Clinical Sciences faculty, House officers quarters. I don’t think saying thank you is an offence.
“On television, I heard one of the governors said in his state to do 3 kilometre road will do more than 15 flyovers. Rivers State, is it not Niger Delta State? Don’t we have riverine areas in Rivers State? Amayanabo of Opobo said since he was born, he has never driven by road to Opobo.
“The day he drive by road to Opobo, he said, God is it possible that in my own time I will not go through the river again, I am now driving by road to Opobo. That is a major riverine area. By the grace of God this December (2022) we are going to commission the first phase of Trans-Kalabari Road. That is a major riverine area.
Speaking further, governor said, “I didn’t know that people are sick about the flyovers I do. Okay, sorry. I don’t want you to be sick again. I won’t do again. Instead of you to appreciate and ask somebody how are you doing this, and justify what you’re doing.
“I have turned the state capital around using a major construction firm like Julius Berger Nigeria PLC. If you know you have the capacity, if you know you have what it takes go and take Julius Berger and see whether you can pay salary.”
Governor Wike pointed to how determined he was in creating the space for medical education that led to the establishment of medical college at the Rivers State University (RSU), which hitherto was not in existence before he assumed office.
“To tell you it is not just flyovers, look at the health sector alone. As at the time we came, this State had no medical college, only the University of Port Harcourt had, and you see how competitive being a federal university. How many of our people get admission to read medicine and other related courses.”
About a 100 students of Rivers origin, he informed, at the PAMO university of medical sciences are also placed on State government scholarship, and who upon graduation, are to gain automatic employment into government establishment.
Governor Wike said while equipment are provided, and medical facilities upgraded, the manpower gap is also being filled.
The governor maintained that the current congestion that is experienced at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) is being addressed.
He explained that in the coming days, the Gynecology department will move to the Mother and Child Hospital and other departments moving to their dedicated facilities like the Maxillofacial and Kersely Harrison Hospital.
Speaking on the projects, Governor Wike urged Nigerians to seek medical assistance from the Renal/dialysis Centre because it has the best equipment and personnel to offer requisite services.
There is already an ongoing arrangement, governor Wike hinted, towards an effective management of the centre to ensure sustainability.
Governor Wike also advise the house officers to imbibe maintenance culture so that they can always keep the quarters clean and maintain the structure.
In his speech, Chief Medical Director of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron said the two projects inaugurated are signature of the genuine love of governor Wike for the State.
Dr. Aaron recalled that the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) was already constructing a Renal Dialysis Unit and governor Wike noticed that if allowed in its form, will be limited in the service it will offer.
The CMD said governor Wike directed an expansion of the unit into a world class centre that will diagnose renal cases, perform dialysis and do transplant of kidney. This, he said is because the governor believes that Rivers people deserve the best.
In his address, commissioner for health, Prof. Princewill Chike said the Renal Centre is one of the best in Nigeria that has been provided by governor Wike for his love for the health sector.
The centre, he pointed out, is a one storey building that has lift that can take 13 person per time.
According to him, there are also doctors and nurses call rooms, water treatment unit, and a 6bed space dialysis area.
Prof. Chike also informed that on the first floor, there are two theatres, one is for where kidney donor and recipient are kept, with equipment to ensure the marching of the kidney.
He said the second theatre is where the transplanting of the kidney is done and the situation properly monitored.
Prof. Chike said there is 100kv standby generating set and 30kva inverter with 6 solar plates to ensure regular power supply.
The chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Ebi Robinson commended governor Wike for building the Renal centre and equipping it with latest state of the art medical equipment that will enhance the productivity of doctors in the hospital.
Gunmen have attacked and killed at least three people in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
During the incident which took place on the Rumuokoro flyover in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state at about 3 pm on Thursday, an unknown number of assailants ambushed and attacked a convoy of Toyota Prado jeeps and opened fire.
During the gun battle which lasted for several minutes, three policemen were killed, one person was kidnapped, and a huge sum of money was carted away.
An eyewitness who spoke to Channels Television on the condition of anonymity, however, said the perpetrators were dressed in military camouflage and had been loitering around the area, apparently waiting for their target before attacking.
When Channels Television contacted the Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Command, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, she said details about the incident were still sketchy and that the Command was investigating.
“Three policemen escorting the oil executive were killed while the man was abducted and taken to an unknown destination,” she said.
The attackers posing as a military patrol in a green minivan called for the convoy to stop before opening fire, she said.
Police said the kidnapped victim was a director of Port Harcourt-based oil and gas service and maintenance company IGPES Group.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Police could not immediately disclose a motive for the attack and no group has claimed responsibility.
Kidnapping for ransom is a huge security problem in Nigeria, targeting both wealthy businesspeople as well as poor farmers who are often snatched in mass abductions in the north.
The Niger Delta is home to Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil and gas resources.
In the 2000s, the region was wracked by militant attacks on oil facilities and the kidnapping of local and expatriate oil workers, slashing Nigeria’s oil output and hurting government revenue.
A 2009 government-backed amnesty programme for the oil rebels has helped reduce attacks but sporadic incidents including large-scale oil theft persist in the region.
Nigeria, a member of OPEC and one of Africa’s largest crude producers, is estimated to be losing as much as $2 billion to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in the region every year.
The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, says he will outsource the maintenance of the newly built Dr Peter Odili Cancer, Cardiovascular Diagnostic Treatment Centre to foreign partners.
At the inauguration of the hospital on Monday, the governor said he cannot leave the facility under the care of the state’s Ministry of health as they are not capable of managing a facility of that magnitude.
He said the Consular General of American Embassy has agreed to partner with the state and has made contact with “those who run hospitals very well overseas to come and partner with us in this.”
He said, “So it is not what I will leave for Ministry of Health, no. Please this type of facility is not leave it for the Commissioner of Health and his staff in the ministry, no it will not work that way because it will be painful if we come back here next five years and then you find out it is no longer what it is.
“That is why when you go to government house clinic you can see the standard, you can’t compare government house clinic with any other clinic outside because of those we have brought there to manage it.
“I am sorry, don’t be offended out civil servants, you are good but not in all cases, you are good to carry files but you are not good to maintain and that has also been a problem for us in Nigeria, even the houses we build to maintain it is a problem, your own personal house, to keep it clean is a problem not to talk about public property.”
Wike thanked Julius Berger for partnering with the Rivers State Government and also delivering a standard facility in agreed time.
He said even though the amount of money spent on the project is humongous, it is worth it because Rivers people deserve good and quality facilities.
The Centre which is equipped to international best standards according to Wike, and named after the former governor of the state Dr Peter Odili, was inaugurated by the Emir of Kano, HRH Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has welcomed reports that the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike and his group are favourably disposed to the resolution of the issues with the former vice president.
Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to Atiku, said this in a statement on Thursday, quoting his principal as expressing commitment to a negotiation that will resolve the crisis of confidence and pave the way for a much stronger and united PDP.
“Atiku Abubakar also expresses his commitment to a negotiation that will resolve the crisis of confidence and pave the way for a much stronger and united PDP,” the statement added.
“The former Vice President of Nigeria, notes that never at any time of the differences that have ensued have the doors been shut to Governor Wike and his group.
“He enjoins every leader of the party and their supporters irrespective of their leanings to be open-minded and support the process of resolution of the extant issues.”
Wike, a former minister, lost the PDP presidential primary to Atiku but claims the exercise was not free and fair. In the wake of the loss, he demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman Iyorchia, insisting that he (Ayu) and Atiku are from the same region.
The PDP G5 which is made up of Wike’s allies has also pulled out of the party’s presidential campaign. Efforts so far to reconcile them have failed.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has increased the number of his Special Assistants on Political Unit Affairs from 100,000 to 200,000.
He announced the increase while inaugurating the second and last batch of the initial 100,000 assistants from the Rivers East Senatorial District on Friday.
The first batch of about 45,000 assistants from Rivers South-East and Rivers West Senatorial Districts were sworn-in by the Governor on Thursday.
The appointment of the unprecedented number of aides was first announced by the state government on October 11 with an initial figure of 14,000.
The number was doubled to 28,000 the next day, and then to 50,000.
During a recent media chat, Governor Wike announced that the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State have discussed and agreed that the number of appointees as Special Assistants be increased to 100,000.
The appointees were selected evenly from each of the political units across the 319 Wards in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state represented.
Their job is to send in honest feedbacks from the people at the grassroots to the state government
They are to communicate the feelings of the people towards the Wike administration through the 319 Liaison Officers at the Ward levels, who will then report to the 32 State Constituency Liaison Officers for transmission to the office of the Governor.
The 319 Wards Liaison Officers and 32 State Constituency Liaison Officers were sworn in earlier this week.
Speaking at the inauguration of the last batch of the 100,000 Special Assistants at the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium, Governor Wike said the appointment is part of the “stomach infrastructure” he promised to execute alongside the physical infrastructure of his administration.
He clarified that the essence of the huge number of appointees is to enbale him finish “very very well”.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has dared the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Iyorchia Ayu to stop any candidate of the party from contesting an election if he thinks he has the powers to do so.
Governor Wike stated this during a media briefing at his residence in Port Harcourt on Sunday while reacting to a recent comment by Senator Ayu that he has the power to stop any candidate, particularly from Benue State, following the attacks on his person.
Ayu was quoted as saying this in his Tiv dialect while addressing the crowd that welcomed him home in Gboko on Friday. He was also quoted as saying that no one can sack him from office.
But Wike believes the comment is further damage to the image of the PDP which should be gaining the trust and confidence of the public to rescue Nigeria.
“He has now come into the office, seen money, seen power, now he can open his mouth to say he could have stopped Ortom. And he said he can also stop any contestant now. We dare him. I dare Ayu to stop any contestant if he has what it takes,” he said.
“Why is he (Ayu) not resigning? He is hoping Nigerians would donate money to the party so he would again superintend over that money. He has already finished over N11 billion party primaries money. Account for it, he says the public should go into the account. We say show us the money. Print the account of PDP, and let the world see how you expended the money.
“This is the party all of us have laboured to take over power from ruling All Progressives Congress that has done badly. Then the national chairman would open his mouth to talk about stopping contestants. Ayu shouldn’t dare. He knows he can’t do it, knows he has no such power. He is just playing to the gallery. He tried it in Rivers state, came to manipulate, and tried to put some guber aspirants, but we saw the results. We dealt with him.”
Wike reiterated that the calls for Ayu to quit the post are based on the need for inclusiveness and also for the national chairman to fulfill his promise.
“For you to be sacked there are procedures to follow. Nobody has said you are sacked. We are saying if at this point you’re a national chairman who has told Nigerians that this is what you do if that happens and you’re running away from doing that, how do you think Nigerians will now believe you if you tell them to vote for your party?” the governor asked.
“If you say you will not honour or keep to integrity, we have no problem with that thing that is giving you confidence. What we are saying is that we want our party to win, but if you think you can do without keeping to promises you have made, so be it. Saying nobody can sack him tells you the impunity in him.”
He accused Ayu of being ungrateful to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
“I heard when he said he could have stopped Ortom from running for election. You see how ungrateful human beings can be. This was the same Governor Ortom who pleaded with us to say I can take the risk of letting Ayu become national chairman, without being greedy.
“The agreement by PDP governors was that no national chairman should come from where a governor comes from. We agreed on that, but Ortom came. And as a man we respect, he said I want to promote my people in national politics. We said okay, on your honour we let him (Ayu) be,” he said.
“This is a man who never campaigned anywhere, never printed a poster to be national chairman. Even money they gave him to print posters, he never printed any. And he (Ayu) is the one saying if he wanted to stop who brought him, a man who stood as a guarantor for him, he could have done so.”
Wike emphasised the need for a proper handover to be done to the succeeding administration in good time. He therefore charged the new commissioners and those already in the cabinet to begin compilation of necessary data so that the reports will be ready in good time.
The commissioners sworn in are: Princewill Chike, Jacobson Nbina, Ndubuisi Okere, Inime Aguma, Charles Amadi, Tonye Briggs, Ben Daminabo, Chris Finebone, Austin Chioma.
Others include, Uchechukwu Nwafor, Fred Kpakol, Emenike Oke, Prince Ohia, Kaniye Ebeku, Ezekiel Agri, Ukiel Oyaghiri, Damiete Miller and Emeka Onowu.
Wike said portfolios would be assigned to them by the Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Danagogo.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has stated that he will increase the number of his special assistants to 100,000.
This comes a few days after his appointment of 28,000 special assistants for political units. He had earlier appointed 14,000 special advisers for the political units and 319 ward liaison officers. The governor’s media aide had explained that the appointees will play a pivotal role in the administration.
While defending the move during a media parley on Friday, Wike said it was part of his government’s promise to alleviate poverty and empower the youth.
“We met this morning and we are going to increase it to a hundred thousand. They are all Rivers people,” he said about the number of appointees.
“Is it not the duty of the government to reduce poverty? Is it not the duty of the government to empower its people?
“What are the people saying at the polling booths; are they happy with our government? You go and find out so we can make adjustments before we leave.”
When asked if it is a burden on his administration, the Rivers leader remarked that such would not be the first time he had towed that line.
“If we don’t have the funds to pay then it is a problem. For me, information is key These 319 liaison officers; was it the first time I appointed them? It was there last year. The 40 local government area liaison officers, is it the first time?
“People just forget easily; what I have done is to listen.”
Governor Wike further declined to state how much this intended personnel would be paid.
‘That is not your business to know how much they will be paid,’ By the time they are been paid you ask,” he maintained.
Wike maintained that Ayu should resign his position as the chairman of the PDP, claiming the party chieftain made the pledge that he would do so if the presidential candidate comes from the north (same region as Ayu).
“We have not done primary and a man came out and said if the presidential candidate comes from my region, I will leave. Honour it. It is integrity and part of the hallmark of leadership,” he noted.
“If he cannot do that, how can you tell Nigerians that anything the PDP tells you, we would do it?”
Wike’s remark is the latest in the crisis that has rocked the PDP following the party’s presidential primary. The governor lost to Atiku Abubakar but claimed the exercise was unfair.
He was touted to become the former vice president’s running mate but Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State was picked instead, a development that further deepened the conflict.
Efforts so far to resolve the conflict have yielded little results as Wike insists that Ayu and Atiku – both from the northern region – cannot occupy the party’s two topmost positions. He and his allies are calling for Ayu’s resignation as part of their demands to sheathe their sword.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command has uncovered a vast dump site used in storing stolen crude oil and illegally refined petroleum products in Agbada Community, Ikwerre local Government Area of Rivers State.
The ten plots fenced dump site which has 170 surface industrial tanks of 1,000 litres each and two metal storage tanks of about 5,500 capacity is less than two kilometres from the Agbada flow Station operated by Heirs Oil and Gas.
Four persons working in the dump site including the gate-keeper and supervisor were arrested.
The State Commandant, Michael Ogar who led personnel of the Command and journalists to the dump site, says the premises was uncovered by the Command’s Antivandal Unit following credible information.
Michael Ogar expressed concern over the proximity of the dump site to the Agbada Flow Station, saying a comprehensive investigation has been launched into the illegal business.
He added that the premises which is currently being manned by personnel of the Command will remain sealed until the investigation to unravel the owner is concluded.
The NSCDC State Commandant also reiterated that any building or site where illegal oil bunkering activities are discovered would be sealed by the Corps and subsequently forfeited to the federal government.
Some of the suspects arrested in the dump site however, denied any involvement in crude oil theft, saying they are carrying out genuine business in the site.
The Senate Committee on Crude Oil Theft had recently visited the Agbada Flow Station as part of its field investigation into the menace in the Niger Delta.
During the visit, the Vice President, Heirs Oil and Gas, Bola Bode told the Committee that the 55,000 barrels per day capacity production facility has not produced a single barrel since May this year and blamed the development on oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Arrest of 16 Suspected Oil Thieves
In another development, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, Rivers State Command has paraded 16 suspects arrested at different locations in the state over alleged involvement in oil theft and illegal dealings in petroleum products.
The 16 suspected include eight arrested by the Nigerian Navy in the creeks as well as eight others arrested by the Command’s Antivandal Land Patrol over alleged dealings in stolen crude oil illegally refined petroleum products.
Parading the suspects at the NSCDC Office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, State Commandant, Michael Ogar, said the suspects were arrested following a renewed vigour to salvage the Nation’s economy from saboteurs.
Michael Ogar restated the Command’s commitment in arresting and prosecuting pipeline vandals and crude oil thieves as well as their sponsors.
He said in the last one month, over 40 suspects were arrested, out of which 30 have so far been charged to court, adding that the Command under his watch will not relent in the fight against crude oil theft and illegal refining.
The NSCDC State Commandant who later led journalist to the Command’s Exhibit Yard, explains that over 200,000 litres of illegally refined petroleum products were recovered from the 16 suspects, saying the products together with trucks, vehicles and wooden boats will be forfeited to the federal government and the suspects charged to court.