By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, has kicked against the decision of the state government to release the sum of N400 million for the resettlement of the people of Ekporo Community in Eleme local government area of the state.
Ekporo Community has been having a running communal clash with the people of Wakama Community in Ogu/Bolo local government area of the state, leading to loss of lives and property.
To avert further clashes between the two communities, the state government last week released the sum of N400 million for the resettlement of the people of Ekporo Community.
But, the APC, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, said it was
disheartening that a community in the state, which deserves to be resettled, following the loss of property, could only merit N400 million while a mere market in Sokoto State got much more from the state government.
The statement, which was signed by the party’s spokesman, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, reads in part: “We are shocked by the move made by the state government to release the sum of N400 million for the resettlement of the Ekporo people.
“The same government recently released the sum of N500 million to the Sokoto State government for the reconstruction of a market. We have learnt that only 16 stalls were burnt in the Sokoto market, in which the Rivers State government doled away N500 million.
“Similarly, the popular Mile 3 Market in the State capital was recently engulfed in flames. Yesterday night, the “Plank Shed” in Marine Base was completely raised to the ground by fire.
“Strangely, these incidents which have left many people in pain have not warranted the visit of the Governor or any positive reaction from his government.”
“Our thinking is that the action of the Rivers State government which should have prevented the present suffering of the Ekporo people which has made some of them homeless has justified our principled position that Rivers money is not good enough for the use of Rivers people.
“We are talking about community resettlement here. The government which gave away N500 million for the reconstruction of a market in Sokoto believes it has done well by releasing N400 million to a community in Rivers State that has been nearly displaced.
“We acknowledge the effort of the Government in trying to find a solution to the problem facing Ekporo but in doing so, Government must show commitment to the complete rehabilitation of the people who are under serious stress.
“We call on Governor Wike who is busy building and commissioning flyovers in Port Harcourt to address the needs of the people. We do not want to believe that the fate of traders in Sokoto State appears weightier and more significant than the wellbeing of Rivers communities whose people pay tax.
“The primary responsibility of the Rivers State Government outside the protection of lives and property, is the promotion of the welfare of the people.The APC abhors the act of tokenism on the part of the Wike administration.
“Charity they say begins at home. It does not begin abroad. If in the calculation of the Wike administration a market deserved to get N500 million to reconstruct it, we think that the resettlement of a community should deserve better attention.
“Finally, we wish to say that we find it amazing that our Governor pays reverence to traditional rulers outside Rivers State, he addresses Royal Fathers of Rivers State without according them the respect that is due them.
“Accordingly, we urge Governor Wike to desist from acts which suggest that the dignity of the Rivers people and the welfare of their offsprings born in this State do not matter.”