Ogoni Clean-up: Wike Warns Politicians against Unguarded Statements over Buhari’s Visit


Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

As President Muhammadu Buhari visits Rivers State to commence the clean-up of Ogoniland and other environmentally impacted areas of the Niger Delta, the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, has warned politicians to refrain from statement that could jeopardise the peace in the state.

In a state-wide broadcast wednesday, Wike noted that Buhari’s visit was historic and significant, and called on all people of the state to accord the president a rousing reception.

His words: “Mr. President’s visit to the state is both historic and significant. It is historic because it marks his first official visit to the state since assuming office as the president of this great nation. It is most significant because Mr. President is not on a political mission but to kick-start the largest environmental clean-up in our nation’s history, for which Rivers people, and indeed the Niger Delta will remain grateful.

“Therefore, I call on Rivers people to be peaceful, law-abiding and demonstrate the traditional Rivers hospitality towards Mr. President and his distinguished entourage throughout the visit.”

He noted that the president’s visit was not for political campaigns but as “the father of the nation.”
He advised: “Mr. President is here as the father of the nation who cares about the environmental and developmental challenges that we face as one of his primary constituencies.

“Accordingly, his presence in Rivers State is not an occasion for political campaigns by anybody or political party. Rather, it is an occasion and an opportunity for us to demonstrate unity of purpose and our readiness to work together with Mr. President to move Rivers State and the nation forward.

“Let me therefore advise desperate politicians in our midst to be mindful of the charged social and economic situation in the country and refrain from making unguarded statements over Mr. President’s visit that could inflame political rivalry and precipitate unnecessary upheavals in the state.”

He noted that the state had been peaceful and said he had directed security agencies to arrest and prosecute anybody causing trouble.

He said: “Rivers State has been peaceful and must remain so during and after Mr. President’s visit. The security agencies have accordingly been directed to arrest and prosecute any person, no matter his or her position, who attempts to exploit Mr. President’s visit for extraneous purposes that undermine the prevailing peace and security in Rivers State.

“Furthermore, as part of measures to enhance security during Mr. President’s visit, I hereby place a ban on the operations of motorcycles and tricycles in Gokana and Khana Local Government Areas between 6a.m. and 6p.m on Thursday, June 2, 2016. The security agencies have been directed to enforce this ban and ensure full compliance.”
He also called on the people, particularly the people of Ogoniland, to come out in great numbers and give “our amiable president” a rousing welcome during his visit.