By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has charged the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, to reduce the level of insurgency in the country.
The governor, who described terrorism as one of the biggest threats to the country, said he would liaise with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to canvass for more money be released for the procurement of arms and other equipment for the military to end insurgency.
Wike spoke on Friday night at Government House, Port Harcourt, when the Chief of Defence Staff and other top military officers paid him a courtesy visit.
He told the new defence chief that God in his infinite wisdom had deemed it necessary for him to be in charge of the military at a time when the minister of defence had cause to declare that Nigeria was bleeding.
The governor said: “You have been brought in to see how you can solve the security problems of this country. For us as a government we have no choice but to support the security agencies, particularly, the army, now that we have terrorist activities in this country.”
Wike stated that no sane government would fold its arms and remain indifferent at this critical moment when the country is grappling with unprecedented security threats orchestrated by non-state actors.
Expressing dismay over the misappropriation of $1billion withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to procure arms and other equipment for the military, the governor wondered how anyone would expect the armed forces to fight bandits and terrorists without requisite equipment.
Wike said irrespective of the controversy surrounding the $1 billion, he would support the Nigerian Governors Forum’s authorisation of additional money to equip the armed forces.
The governor, who disclosed that the army would soon take delivery of the five gunboats the state government promised to donate to them, thanked the Nigerian Army for proactively checkmating the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and not giving any room for any terrorists attack in the state.
General Irabor commended Wike and the Rivers State government for supporting the Army and other security agencies.
He appealed to citizens of the state and the Niger Delta to continue to ensure that peace reigns in the region for economic activities to thrive. He said he was in the state to assess some of the various operational activities of the armed forces and meet with the personnel.