Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has charged the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, to reduce the level of insurgency in the country.
The governor, who cited terrorism as one of the biggest existential threats to the country, said he would liaise with his counterparts in the Nigeria Goveenors’ Forum to support releasing more money for the procurement of arms and other equipment for the military to end insurgency.
This was contained in a statement issued by the governor’s Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, yesterday, titled, “Wike tasks Chief of Defence Staff to reduce insurgency”.
According to the statement, the governor spoke when the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; and other top military officers paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike told the new Chief of Defence Staff 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 is bleeding.
“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 terrorists activities in this country.”
The governor said no sane government will fold its arms and remain indifferent at this critical moment when the country is grappling with unprecedented security threats orchestrated by non-state actors.
“I believe you will make us proud by ensuring you reduce the level of insurgency.”
Governor Wike expressed dismay over the misappropriation of $1Billion withdrawn from Excess Crude Account to procure arms and other equipment for the military.
He wondered how anyone will expect the armed forces to fight bandits and terrorists without requisite equipment.
He, however, said irrespective of the controversy surrounding the $1Billion for procurement of arms and other equipment for the military, he will support the Nigerian Governors Forum authorisation of additional money to equip the Armed Forces.
The Rivers State governor disclosed that the Army will soon take delivery of the five gunboats the State government promised to donate to them.
He 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.
The governor assured the Chief of Defence Staff that the State Government will continue to support the Army and other security agencies.
He, however, appealed to him to ensure that the military shun politics and adhere strictly to their constitutional mandate of protecting the country’s territorial integrity.
“I believe now that you’re in charge as Chief of Defence Staff that that will not repeat in 2023.”
He further said: “We have respect for the Army, particularly the role you play. These are people who will go and fight for our own interest and die in course of that. So, everybody must respect the institution.”
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, commended Governor Wike and the Government of Rivers State for supporting the Army and other security agencies.
General Irabor said he was in the state to assess some of the various operational activities of the Armed forces and to meet with the personnel.