Gentlemen of the Press,
We have invited you here today to make our position and that of the
entire Rivers people known to the world on the various achievements of
the President Buhari led administration stirring us as a people and as
a country.
On behalf of the civil society family, vibrant youths, highly
respected elders and the good people of Rivers State, we hereby give
vocal credence to this epoch making communiqué delivered as stipulated
with respect to the above subject matter.
Firstly, on The Medical Vacation of President Buhari:
We thank the Almighty God for the life of our dear President,
Muhammadu Buhari who recently returned from a medical vacation. It had
been the prayers of Rivers people in particular and Nigerians in
general for him to return in good health. To God be the glory he
returned as expected.
As a Civil Society and Rivers people, we wish to strongly commend Mr.
President for complying with the constitutional provision of
officially handing over power to his vice, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo who
exhibited proven capacity. It is interesting to state that this would
be the first time in the history of our beloved country where a
sitting President would officially hand over the reigns of power to
his deputy. Moreso, we are very happy to have President Buhari back to
continue the process of rebuilding our dear country.
Consequently, we make bold to posit that God in His infinite wisdom
bestowed on the Nigerian state an altruistic, frugal and dedicated
nationalist in the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari who is
saddled with a four-year mandate by the Nigerian people whose
paramount idiosyncrasy is predicated on the true meaning of “CHANGE”
to navigate this great country to an unprecedented prosperity. Hence,
it is incumbent upon us as members of Civil Societies to count our
blessings as Rivers people under his selfless leadership within the
period under review.
Ogoni Cleanup:
We are pleased with the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari and the
Federal Government to implement the UNEP REPORT on Ogoni Land. This is
one project that strikes at the heart of the people of Niger Delta. We
however encourage the government to extend such cleanup to other oil
impacted areas in the region.
The renewed Amnesty Program/Investments/Economic Growth:
It is very gratifying to note that the federal government in its
wisdom has decided to sustain the Amnesty program for youths in the
Niger delta region. As young persons from the region who are directly
affected one way or the other by the Amnesty program, we view the
decision of the FG as a step in the right direction, we encourage the
government to improve on the program and make it more transparent. The
decision of the government in partnering with illegal refiners towards
the establishment of modular refineries is no doubt, a bold initiative
that deserves our mention.
The Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has made very
important and critical contributions in the aspect of investments and
economic development. The menace of illegal refining of petroleum
products which has become a common practice in the Niger Delta region
is being addressed frontally with a view to legitimizing and modifying
the practice. Consequently, the Niger Delta Inter-Ministerial
Committee on the new road-map headed by the Vice President, His
Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, has put in place structures and a
framework for the actualization and establishment of modular
refineries which are expected to replace the illegitimate and ugly
practice of petroleum products refining popularly known as “Kpo-Fire”
in this area. The people of Rivers State and indeed the Niger Delta
cannot thank the President enough for matching words with actions as
it concerns this laudable policy. It is indeed a dream come through.
Recall that this was one of the many issues addressed during the
recent visit of the Vice President to the Niger Delta and oil
producing communities. The benefits of this all important policy
cannot be over-emphasized, but suffice to say that it will generate
and provide employment opportunities for the youths, ensure economic
growth, encourage capacity building, ensure sufficiency of refined
petroleum products, improve the value of the Naira against other
currencies, ensure a safer environment through monitoring, and above
all, eliminate or reduce to its barest minimum, the recurrent youth
restiveness and militancy.
Another area where the Buhari administration has demonstrated a
commitment to ensuring economic growth and investment is the recent
release of the first tranche of the London-Paris Club loan refund to
the 36 States and FCT, which the past administration failed to do
despite the huge revenues that accrued to the FG from the high price
of crude oil sale. Infact, upon the President’s return from his
medical vacation, he has directed the Honourable Minister of Finance
and the CBN Governor to expedite action on the release of the second
tranche amounting to N500bn. According to the President, the policy is
meant to ease the financial paucity being experienced by the states
where some of them are unable to pay workers’ salaries and retirees’
pension and gratuity. A breakdown of the refund to the 36 States and
FCT shows that Rivers State received a whooping USD462,593,188.07
(N209bn) out of a total of sum of USD6.9bn. We do not see any excuse
the Rivers State Government will give for not paying its workers and
retirees, most especially the workers of the disbanded TIMARIV and
Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency who are owed 7 months and
20 months salaries respectively.
We cannot forget to appeal for the quick completion of the dredging of
the River Niger, which is envisaged to improve commercial activities
in the Southern-Eastern part of the country and provide employment
opportunities for the masses of this country.
The N-power Social Empowerment Program:
As Rivers people, we appreciate the Federal Government on these Social
Empowerment Schemes including the N-Power program that seeks to engage
over 500,000 young Nigerians. We take particular note that our dear
Rivers State account for the second largest beneficiaries in this
laudable program. It is indeed heartwarming to note further that the
beneficiaries paid not a single dime to enroll into it.
More so, we are gladdened with the decision of President Muhammadu
Buhari led government to include pupils from State public schools into
the next batch of the school-feeding programme of the Federal
Government. Indeed, we have never had it so good. It is worthy to
state that these twin initiatives have helped in uplifting our youths
out of the poverty mark as well as lessen the burden on parents and
We therefore strongly commend the Federal Government and urge them not
to relent in driving the dividends of democracy into the hands of
ordinary Nigerians.
Appointments of Rivers People into Strategic Federal Positions:
As Rives people, we are particularly very grateful for the appointment
of our sage and leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as the
Transportation Minister, who has showcased his expertise and dexterity
in the herculean task of making the modern means of transportation
available, affordable and comfortable for all Nigerians. In fact, for
the first time in fifty years as a nation, railways are now
As a matter of fact, tomatoes and other farm produce are now
effortlessly moved from the hinter region of the North to the Western,
Eastern and Southern parts of the country, which has drastically
forced down prices of goods and services that were hitherto
skyrocketed in the previous administration. We thank Mr. President for
the Calabar–Lagos and Lagos–Kano rail constructions. We believe that
with the coming on stream of these rail projects unemployment will be
curtailed, especially as it affects the people of the Niger Delta in
particularly and the country at large. Again, prices of goods will be
reduced to a bearable scale. We also wish to thank Mr. President and
the Honourable Minister of Transportation for the renovation works
taking place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja as
well as the Port Harcourt International Airport, which were abandoned
and ignored for the past ten years when it became due. It takes men of
vision and love for the people to undertake such projects even though
those in opposition who do not mean well for the country committed a
lot of effort and resources to truncate them.
We as Rivers people will further thank Mr. President for the
appointments of our sons and daughter, and indeed satisfied with their
outstanding performances even in these austere times.
Bailout for State Governors:
The Buhari administration has, within the almost 2 years it has
piloted the affairs of this country, released various sums of money to
the states as bail out from their dwindling financial resources. It is
on record that most states in the Niger Delta had benefited from the
Federal Government’s magnanimity, and for this singular and uncommon
demonstration of love and care for the people, we the people of Rivers
State say a big thank you.
The education sector is critical to the development of the Nigerian
economy. And for this reason, the Buhari led administration is laying
a solid foundation that will strengthen the educational objective of
the country. Pursuant to this, the Maritime University which was
proposed by the previous administration but bedeviled with corruption
and insincerity is now been addressed with renewed vigour and
transparency as had been earlier requested by the Hon.Minister for
Transportation,Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. It is very sad that
despite spending over 13Billion naira on this particular project,the
immediate past FG could not kick start the University,instead,it
became a conduit pipe for siphoning scarce resources. Good enough, the
project is now a critical aspect of the new road map to the
development of the Niger Delta. It is envisaged that this University
will take care of the age long yearnings of the Niger Delta people to
acquire requisite qualification that will propel them to key into the
lucrative oil and maritime sectors of the economy. We thank the
President and Rt.Hon.Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for this gesture,
believing that the university will commence academic activities in a
not too distant time.
The government has also, within the period under consideration, made
available special intervention funds to the Federal and State
Universities. In Rivers State for instance, the University of Port
Harcourt now wears a new look courtesy of this intervention. And for
this, we the people of Rivers State thank the President Buhari
administration and solicit for more to be done.
The vigor Mr. President has exhibited in the genuine crusade against
anti- corruption in all strata of our development has attracted
international encomiums to the country which hitherto was an
excruciating far cry.
Nigeria as a country was irredeemably condemned without leniency to
the extent that she was rated as one of the most corrupt nations in
the world. What a shame! This unhealthy coloration ceased as soon as
President Buhari mounted the seat of power. Without any form of
contradiction every Torn, Dick and Harry was coerced into the CHANGE
MANTRA in line with the zero-penchant for corruption doctrine of Mr.
As a country our dignity is once again restored with a clear mandate
of retrieving all stolen monies from inimical criminal elements,
financial leakages plugged and businesses of government are executed
in compliance with best global practices. What a colossal achievement?
As Rivers people we say thank you, but we shall be very grateful if
Mr. President directs the search light of EFCC to investigate how
government businesses are done here in Rivers State. It is our sincere
believe that the disclosures would be alarming. A stitch in time saves
No doubt, the appointment of Lt. Gen. Tukor Burutai as the Nigeria’s
Chief of Army Staff came at a defining moment of our collective
history, which has culminated in the holistic fight against oil theft,
sea piracy, kidnapping and incessant armed robbery incidences in
Rivers State. This immeasurable achievements vis-à-vis routing out
insurgency from the North East geopolitical part of Nigeria by our men
and women of the Nigerian Army under the well co-ordinated command
structure of Lt. Gen. Burutai undisputedly require a resoundingly
unbroken kudos for Mr. President.
We unreservedly thank President Muhammadu Buhari for re-engineering
such a sophisticated military architecture with such quantum of
professionalism and the upgradement of the army cantonment in Rivers
State to 6th Division. It is our sincere and firm believe that this
gesture will further water-down the aforementioned recorded success in
the security of lives and properties of our people.
We will not end our presentation without mentioning the fallen heroes
of Rivers People who lost their precious and God given lives before,
during and after the bloodiest general elections of 2015. Mr.
President, we crave your indulgence to bring to justice the culprits
and assailants who perpetrated these heinous and dastardly acts in the
shortest expected future, so that the deceased spirits would rest in
their untimely graves. Justice delayed is justice denied.
We cannot end this interaction without reminding the federal
government of the followings;
Bonny-Bodo road;
The need and necessity of the Bonny-Bodo road and its importance to
the people of the Niger delta cannot be over-emphasied.We appeal to Mr
President to take personal interest in this very important project. We
also appeal to the Hon.Minister for Works, Power and Housing, His
Excellency,to expedite action on the project to lessen the hardship
faced by our people.
We use this medium to once again remind Mr President of his promise
not to ‘forgive or forget the atrocities in the Niger delta’ in
reference to those who killed and beheaded our people in the area just
because they expressed their rights to political association, Mr
President must not forget that over 500 people were murdered in cold
blood in the course of the 2015 campaigns and elections in Rivers
state. We are not asking the government for any favour but to live up
to its responsibilities by bringing to justice those directly and
indirectly linked to these heinous crimes as deterrent to future
3.The Rumuekpe Gas explosion;
The FG should take note of the gas explosion in Rumuekpe community in
Emohua LGA of Rivers state and should as a matter of urgency, take
necessary steps in restoring normalcy to the area.It is important to
state here that the explosion from pipelines belonging to the NLNG has
affected the livelihood of the people in that surroundings and till
this moment, neither the relevant government agencies nor officials of
NLNG has bothered to visit the scene of such unfortunate incident.
Finally, we worried that the Rivers state government under Gov.Nyesom
Wike has refused to promptly pay the salaries of civil servants in the
state as at when due. It is more worrisome that despite the huge
resources it has received, including the Paris refund which is in
excess of 200billion naira, the government has refused to pay staff
members of Rivers State Sustainable Dev. Agency and some local
government staff on the excuse that they are members of the opposition
APC till date. We hereby call on the state government to urgently pay
all those being denied their entitlements and strongly caution the
government to stop victimizing civil servants whom they perceive their
loyalties to be to the other political parties.
Gentlemen and ladies, once again,we thank our own Rt. Hon. Chibuike
Rotimi Amaechi for attracting several developmental projects and
programs to the state and re-affirm our commitment towards partnering
with the FG and our amiable President, Muhammadu Buhari towards
achieving national peace, development and stability.
Thank you for your time.
Long live Mr. President!
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!