To further strengthen the machinery of government, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, swore-in four new Commissioners.
The Rivers State Governor also swore-in Chief Boma Dappa as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Degema Local Government Area.
Performing the swearing-in ceremony at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said there would be a minor cabinet reshuffle.
He charged the new commissioners to see their appointments as a privilege to serve the people of the state and not an opportunity for self-enrichment.
The governor urged the commissioners to establish themselves as persons who are known for the development of the state.
He said: “These appointments are not opportunities for appointees to enrich themselves. If you attempt to enrich yourselves, there will be consequences.
“Anyone who attempts to derail our vision, we will not notify the person before he is shown the way out. We are determined to move the state to the next level”.
He called on all the new commissioners to show loyalty to the administration as they work towards a New Rivers State.
“I demand total loyalty. If you divide your loyalty, you will not be in my cabinet. This administration is determined to actualise her vision for the state”, he said.
The commissioners sworn-in by the Rivers State governor include Mrs Nancy Nwankwo, Mr Chinyere Igwe, Mr Michael West and Dr Reason Onya.
He directed the caretaker committee chairman of Degema Local Government Area to pay salaries and work with security agencies to maintain security in the area.
The governor urged the Degema Council chairman to ensure the regular payment of salaries, saying that salary payment should not be compromised.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has challenged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leadership to mobilise Christians to register en mass and obtain their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to enable them vote in better leaders during the 2019 general elections in the country.
Wike gave the charge, last Wednesday, when the leadership of CAN paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
he governor said as a Christian state, Rivers State deserves active mobilization and participation of Christians in policy-making, and promised to give Christians all the needed support in spite of the persecution of the state by the Federal Government.
The governor thanked CAN members for their support to his administration, saying that he will not let them down.
He promised to renovate the secretariat of CAN in the state to enable them have a befitting office.
Wike said: “But for the prayers of Christians, the state would have been subdued by challenges. It would have been very difficult for us to carry out our assignments. The state has been persecuted for no just reason”.
The governor challenged those opposed to the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Law to go to court, stressing that the law has come to stay.
He regretted that some persons who have ulterior motives were politicising the initiative which was aimed at synergizing with security agencies through provision of intelligence and information for improved security, noting that security has grown beyond carrying of arms.
Wike said: “Rivers State Government was not the first state that initiated Neighbourhood Safety Corps. It was started by Lagos State Government.
“When criminal activities became so much in the state, everyone focused on prayers and did everything humanly possible to support security agencies. When I took over in 2015, they repeatedly changed commissioners of police. I bemoaned the incessant changes that disorganised the security architecture of the state.
“That was how they planned to declare state of emergency in Rivers State. They claimed there was so much crime. I cried for help, but they refused to help. I told them that God sees their refusal to help and it will lead to national crisis.
“What is happening today? We are no longer talking of kidnapping; we are confronted with killings everyday in different parts of the country. Whether you call it Fulani versus farmers, community versus community, whether you call it terrorists or whatever colouration you want to give it,there are killings everywhere.”
Wike said: “They thought they want to paint Rivers State black, now Nigeria is black. If they had come to our rescue to support us then, if they had not played politics with the security of Rivers State, maybe God may have forgiven. But because they thought we have nobody, they shut their eyes.
“This Neighbourhood Safety Corps, we just went to Lagos, studied what Lagos State did and replicated it here. Federal Government never said anything against Lagos State.
“Today, security has gone beyond carrying of guns. We must have to get intelligence. We must be proactive. We don’t have the number of security men that can cover all the communities. We adopted what Lagos State did. We are employing men and women who are committed to make sure that this state is safe. These young men and women will give intelligence to security agencies and work in synergy with them”.
The governor said: “I assented to a law constitutionally passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly, and they say I must be punished for carrying out my constitutional responsibility.
“I prefer that I have done my work, so I can die than not doing it and still die.
“What are they afraid of that they are telling people that they will carry arms? Look at what the law says. If you are giving out information, criminals will come after you. They will not carry arms without the approval of the security agencies.
“They are now trying to politicise the whole outfit. The law has come to stay. If they don’t like it, the courts are there for them to challenge it”, the governor argued.
He said it was baseless for anybody to allege that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would be armed to attack opposition elements in the state.
The Director of Legal Affairs of CAN in the state, Rev Dan Obinna, who read the address of the association, praised Wike for the impressive performance of his administration through massive projects’ execution and security.
CAN congratulated the governor for the numerous national and international awards he has won, and assured that it would continue to support the administration.
Obinna said the body has planned sustained prayer and fasting programme in support of the government.
“We join all other progressive people to say that the Rivers State governor has done well. We knew it from the beginning; that was why we started the spree of encouragements when we awarded you the Apostle of Peace.
“We commend you on your frontal approach on the issue of security in the state. We especially commend you for the establishment of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps which is your most recent strategy in handling security matters in the state”, Obinna said.
He solicited the assistance of the state government in renovating the body’s secretariat and provision of a bus to enable the association effectively carry out its duties.