Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has advised the Nigerian Army to focus on their traditional role of securing the country, instead of illegally delving into politics, which has destroyed their image .
He also said that the neglect of critical areas of constitutional responsibility by the Nigerian Army had negatively affected its ability to perform.
Wike spoke yesterday during a courtesy visit by Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Army at the Government House Port Harcourt.
He said: “The Army should be sent to where there are serious security infractions.
“But the reality today is that everyone now has soldiers attached to them while the general security of the country suffers. The role of the Army is to defend the territorial integrity of the country and maintain general security. The Army must return to their primary responsibility”.
He said that the army must channel her resources to where they were needed for the good of the country.
He stated that in Rivers State, the Nigerian Army had been helpful in tackling insecurity and kidnapping.
He said: “The Army has supported us in terms of fighting insecurity and kidnapping. They have worked with other security agencies to improve the security of the State.
“But they played very negative roles during the elections. The Army was involved in ballot snatching and attempts to subvert the will of Rivers people. The authorities should work hard to change the perception of the Army on the streets “.
He however said despite the negative roles of the army, the State Government under his leadership has invested heavily in the Army.
“There is no Governor in this country that can challenge the level of support that we have availed the Nigerian Army. We funded the operationalisation of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army. I have never turned my back on the Army or any security agency in terms of logistics and funding,” he said.
The governor said the N100 billion allocated to the Army in the 2020 budget was inadequate. He also wondered what had happened to the $1 billion withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account for the equipping of the Nigerian Army.
Earlier, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, commended Wike for supporting the Nigerian Army to deliver on its mandate.
He said: “Port Harcourt is now secure due to the investments of Governor Wike in the security of the State. In collaboration with the security agencies, Governor Wike had been able to restore security to the State.
“The level of security in Rivers State wouldn’t have been achieved without the support of Governor Wike. If all governors were doing same things in addressing security challenges like Governor Wike, the country would have been better off “.
He stated that the N100 billion allocated to the Nigerian Army in 2020 budget would not achieve results, noting that efforts must be geared towards attracting more support for the Army.
He praised the Rivers State Governor for the massive infrastructural development witnessed across the state, noting that the changes are noticeable.