Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike says the ban on open grazing in the state will be given legal backing to protect Rivers people from marauding herdsmen.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Isaiah Odoli/Omerelu Streets in New GRA Phase 1 in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area on Wednesday, Wike said the Anti-Open Grazing bill will be sent to the State House of Assembly.
The governor in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Kevin Ebiri, said in addition to protecting farmland in Rivers State, women and youths, the bill is in keeping with the resolution made by the Southern Governors Forum.
“You can’t go to the farm anymore, those who rear cattle, they’ll not allow your crops to grow. Let me say clearly, now that the House of Assembly has come back, we have to submit the bill on Anti-Open Grazing as we agreed in the Southern Governors Forum.
“So, that everybody must understand it, it’s clear, without any hesitation, we must do it to protect our farms, to protect our women, to protect our youths so that nobody will go and kill them,” the governor stated.
Wike asserted that Nigerians who had considered the All Progressives Congress as a better alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015 must be regretting the deplorable condition of the country under APC.
“The exchange rate has now gotten to N510 to a dollar. When they took over, it was N150 to a dollar. They said they’ll give employment. Do we have employment today? Are your children employed?”
According to Governor Wike, Nigeria is now on life support and requires prayers from well-meaning Nigerians in order to salvage the country.
“Since APC came into power, you can now see what Nigeria has turned to. Each day you wake up, you hear people are being killed. If you watch television and read the news in newspapers, you will hear so and so number are killed or kidnapped in so and so state.
“That is not what I thought all of us needed. The country is on oxygen (life support). Nobody knows what will happen next. As we are today, Nigeria is in dire need of help. Nigeria needs prayers; to our mothers and sisters, you must kneel down and pray to God to salvage this country,” Wike added.
He also stated that the APC-led federal government has not done anything in Rivers State for the people. He described as untrue the claim by the federal government that it is jointly executing the Bonny-Bodo Road.
“The only thing they are arguing now is that they are doing Bodo-Bonny Road. No, with due respect, that’s not correct. That road was supposed to be done by NLNG and the federal government. NLNG brought their N60 billion, the federal government did not bring any Kobo.
“Now, they are trying to use the tax that NLNG is supposed to pay to do the road. The tax would have been shared from the federation account and part of the money would have come to Rivers State. So, the federal government cannot say that they’re the ones doing Bonny-Bodo Road. All of us are jointly doing the road.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike stated that every road in the Old and New GRAs have been rehabilitated under the Urban Renewal Programme of his administration except the Orugbum Crescent in the new GRA.
The motivations, he said, was to restore the beauty, and serenity of those government reserved residential areas. According to him, henceforth, no street traders will be tolerated along those roads because their wares will be impounded.
Inaugurating the road project, former Senate President, Senator David Mark, said Rivers people are very lucky to have a governor who fulfils promises made and provides infrastructure with a human touch.
Such posture, Senator Mark said, re-enact the fact that Governor Wike is the true leader of politics in the state behind whom every person can easily align and follow without hesitation.
“All the year-round, you are bringing people to come and commission project here, like me.
“Now, you have a governor who has fulfilled his promises and done beyond his promises.
“The difference between him and just providing infrastructure is very clear. He provides his own with a human face. There’s humility in what he’s doing.
“If you get up today and say Rivers State, this is where we are going, everybody will follow. If you go round Rivers State – and I’m sure all of you know this – and they say who is the leader of politics, they will tell you it is your governor,” Mark stated.