Rivers Govt Warns APC against Violence, Says State Safe for Residents


By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Government has warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop de-marketing the state by labeling it unsafe.

It said residents should resist the tag of violence placed on them by enemies of the people for political gains, as the state was safe for everyone.

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Emma Okah, who gave the warning following recent claim by APC that Rivers State was unsafe, said the people are peaceful and love one another.

He said: “Since 2015, our people have been working together with the government to improve upon their living standards.

“If the state was not safe, night life would have died, contractors would not be able to execute projects, national and international conferences would not hold in the state, investment inflow would not increase, IGR would decline, those who are branding the state as unsafe would not be able to visit and move about and life would be sour and brutish in the state,” Okah said.

While noting that the successes of the Nyesom Ezenwo Wike administration have become a burden for APC, he said it was therefore shameful for some misguided APC members in the state to take it upon themselves to demarket the state by branding it as unsafe and  promoting hostility against the government and people of the state to achieve narrow and dubious ends.

“I believe only God gives power to His chosen one and no matter how hard the APC tries in the state to discredit the achievements of Governor Wike, the prayers of the churches and the people will bring them to their knees,” he said.

On the purported attempted attack on the Tonye Cole campaign train in old Bakana, Okah said “It is satanic that the APC will  hire thugs to shoot at and wound  innocent people holding a PDP meeting in Ikwerre Local Government Area and turn around a few days later to stage manage an attempted attack on one of its own as a way of diverting attention and escaping public condemnation. Such narratives no longer impress anybody.”Since the APC controls the police and security agencies, how come they have not been able to arrest and prosecute any PDP member on account of any alleged violent crime against the APC,” Okah queried, urging PDP faithful to remain law abiding and steadfast and deny APC of the provocation they plan against the PDP.

Meanwhile, Okah has accused the Police in the state of plotting to rig the 2019 election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He spoke in Port Harcourt at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Correspondents’ Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State, with the theme, ‘Promoting Security in 2019 Elections: The Role of the Media’

 Okah said the media was doing its best to preserve and protect the democratic process but that some security operatives were subverting the process by rigging for the APC.

 His words: “The media is doing its best in the coverage and reportage of elections. Some security agents are also doing their best. But, the police in Rivers State is hell-bent on rigging the 2019 elections for the APC. We have said so and everything is tilting towards that direction.”

 He, however, said journalists were hampered in the performance of their duties because of negative influence from the society.

He said the precarious situation the Nigerian journalist faces as critical stakeholder in enthroning credible election is further aggravated by widespread poor salaries in the nation’s media.

 He said the blame for violent and non-credible elections should be shared among politicians, security operatives, INEC and journalists.

 “Can a journalist who is hungry report fairly?” Okah asked, “Violence and lack of transparency in credible elections is a shared blame. Nothing new is being said. Nigerians should be God fearing and respect the law to build the nation. If Nigeria does not take cogent steps to enthrone electoral integrity, one day Nigerians will go berserk.”