Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, on Saturday, called on the Ogoni people to declare one-day fasting for God to make the Federal Government to release $1bn (N170 billion) from the $49.8 billion allegedly missing for the implementation of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Report on Ogoni.
The governor, who spoke in Bori, Khana local government area during the inauguration of the local government executive of Save Rivers Movement, a pro-All Progressive Congress (APC) group, flayed the delay on the part of the Federal Government to release the money for the clean up of oil pollution in Ogoni land.
”UNEP finished all they did. They said ‘spend $1bn to clean up Ogoni’. Have you seen the one billion dollars? Without the UNEP Report, you cannot fish, you cannot farm. $49.8 billion is missing. If they say it is not true, let them tell us where it is. They should bring one billion dollars from the 49.8 billion dollars to do UNEP” , he said.
Amaechi thanked the Inspector General of Police for providing tight security for the rally which could not hold, last week, because some hoodlums came shooting sporadically to scare the organisers.
The governor lashed out at the state police commissioner, Joseph Mbu, over alleged abuse of federal might, describing his political foes in the state as hungry politicians.
According to him, their target was to plunder the state’s resources. “They are thieves, corrupt people who say they want to serve you. They have a problem, stomach infrastructure problem”, he said.
While urging his supporters not to take the law into their hands, Amaechi urged them to ensure they got their voter’s cards, adding that they should also be part of the APC membership registration exercise billed to commence in February. “I don’t want you to take the law into your hands. But make sure nobody shoots at you.
If a man slaps you and gets away with it, he will come back tomorrow. Go to INEC for your voter’s card. It is the weapon you have to vote out bad government”, he said.
The governor also said he was apologising to the gathering on behalf of the police for the rally which was aborted, last Sunday, by suspected hoodlums in Bori even as he spoke on some of the successes his administration had recorded in Ogoni land.
Some members of the National Assembly, commissioners in the state and local government Chairmen were present. Some of them who spoke drummed up support for the APC.
There was heavy presence of security men in the community. Vehicles were not allowed about hundred meters to the venue of the event. The anti-bomb disposal unit of the police was on ground.
Governor Amaechi charged the Ogoni and the people of the state to stand up to whoever might want to harass or intimidate them for political gains, adding that by resisting oppression, the people would be forcing their oppressors to initiate peace.
“I do not want to come back to Ogoni to hear that you were shattered. I do not want you to take the law into your own hands but I want you to make sure that nobody shoots at you.
“They (gun-wielding militants) are all human beings. They are not ghosts. They are neither angels nor devil. They are human beings like you. If a man slaps you and gets away with it, tomorrow, he will come back.
“The history of Ogoni is replete with struggle. They killed Ken Saro-Wiwa (during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha on November 10, 1995).Is the struggle over?
“The man said you might take away my life but you would not take away the idea. You can kill the messenger, not the message. The idea of the liberation of the Ogoni people, is it not still on? I have been part of that idea.”
He dismissed politicians fighting him, especially leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as hungry people, saying that his new party the All Progressives Congress (APC), is the fastest-growing political party in the country today and is prepared to transform Nigeria forever.
He said: “PDP claims to be the biggest party in Nigeria. APC is the fastest -growing party in Nigeria. Then, there was no ACN, no CPC, only PDP in Rivers State. Now, they have seen another party, why are they afraid?
“Why are they fighting? Why are they shooting? Why are they using policemen? They should allow voting to take place.”
In a solidarity message from his sick bed abroad, Senator Magnus Abe, who was shot by the police at an earlier rally described the massive turnout at yesterday’s rally, as a proof that violence cannot subdue the spirit of a free people.
Abe, an Ogoni, who monitored the inauguration and rally from London, noted that the successful hosting of the event in the face of threats and intimidation was a confirmation that the principle of non-violence with which Ogoni heroes fought the then federal military government and multinational corporations was still the best weapon.
He praised Amaechi for his courage and exemplary commitment to Ogoni course, saying: “the governor was ready to take the first bullet for Ogoni. His courage, doggedness and commitment to truth continue to justify the decision of true Rivers people to stand with him in the defence of our state.”