His Excellency, Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, described as illegal the nod given by his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for the withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), insisting that the same amount must also be withdrawn to address environmental challenges ravaging the Niger Delta.

Wike told journalists at the State House, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, that he was at the Presidential Villa to brief the president on the security situation in Rivers State. 

The governor, who said he was in support of the fight against insurgency, pointed out that the decision of Governor’s Forum to approve the withdrawal of $1 billion from the ECA was illegal.

“For me it is illegal, however, we are talking about fighting insurgency and no right thinking individual will say that he will not support the government to fight insurgency. “On the other hand, I believe that we have been talking about the environmental issues in the Niger Delta, particularly in Ogoni land, I believe that we can also take the same money from the excess crude account to fund the problem in Ogoni land and other Niger Delta areas. That is my position,” he said.

Asked about his relationship with the president, Wike said their relationship was cordial, adding that their meeting was purely based on security matters devoid of any political undertone, explaining that he was in the Villa on the president’s invitation.

“I’m happy with the discussion and I believe that something has to be done about (security) it. Nothing political; just security issue that affects the state and things that may lead to the breakdown of law and order. We talked on security challenges and he received me very well. We don’t have any bad relationship. I come here when he asks me to come.”

Questioned on his alleged manipulation of the recent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) elective congress in Abuja with a view to installing Uche Secondus as the party chairman, Wike denied the allegation. 

He also said the PDP would continue to win elections in Rivers State, blackmail notwithstanding.

“It is impossible for one person to own a party. The only thing is that people are vibrating and the ruling party is jittering about it. Take for example, my state; we are sure that PDP will win elections any day, anytime. 

“There is no amount of blackmail; there is no amount of intimidation that will stop us from winning the state. So I believe that other people working hard in their states should be able to deliver them to PDP in future,” he said.