Goodluck Jonathan throws weight behind Gov Wike over clash with the Army


* Promises to meet Buhari for Wike

The Nigerian Army chased away Gov Nyesom Wike’s vigilantes training at the NYSC Camp in Nonwa, Tai LGA of Rivers State, and dubbed them militias, thereby attracting anger from the state governor. Wike’s mentor and former boss, Goodluck Jonathan, has however thrown his weight behind the governor and promised to make a case for Rivers vigilantes to President Muhammadu Buhari. This raises eyebrows as to whether Jonathan is now buddy with Buhari, who has of late been talking well about Jonathan.

Jonathan made it look like he was a mediator but has clearly pronounced Wike as the right party in the dispute, meaning that the Army and the FG are the guilty party in the matter.

A statement by Gov Wike’s media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, said it all:

Former president,  Goodluck Jonathan, declared his intention to speak with Buhari on the matter. He also commiserated with the government and people of Rivers State over the collapse of the 7-Storey building in Port Harcourt.

The former President who was accompanied by his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, spoke at the site of the collapsed 7-storey building at Woji road in New GRA, Port Harcourt.

He said: “I will take it up with Mr President to see how we will resolve the matter amicably in the interest of our people. If you don’t have the cooperation of volunteers working with the security services, we will not be able to manage the security situation “.

Jonathan said that when a state government is setting up a volunteer service to manage the security situation, the police and Army within the state must give their maximum cooperation.

He said: “If a state is setting up a volunteer service to manage the security situation, we expect cooperation from the police and the Army within the state.

“If there are any issues that should be cleared, I expect the Commissioner of Police and the General Officer Commanding to meet with  the Security Adviser to the Rivers State Governor to discuss these grey areas”.

He said managing security in the extremely riverine states require the contributions of locals in the form of volunteers.

“These are extremely  riverine states. Apart from the Navy, 60 percent of the personnel of the other security services cannot  swim. Managing security in these states require the locals”, he said.

The Former President  said that as Deputy Governor to Late DSP Alamiesegha, Bayelsa State had to set up the Bayelsa Volunteers  to tackle piracy alongside the security agencies.

“When we set up the Bayelsa Volunteers, we worked with the Police to reduce piracy in the state. I have realised that without the locals, you cannot succeed in terms of managing security anywhere “, he said.

He stated that as a President he allowed the setting up of the Civilian Joint Task Force to work with the military to tackle Boko Haram insurgency, saying that the decision helped so much.

Earlier, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike told the Former President that the State Government initiated the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency for the purpose of enhancing the security of the state.

Governor Wike who was represented by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Sir Kenneth Kobani noted that the State has always supported the security agencies with finances and logistics.

The governor said: “To our shock while the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency was being trained, they were invaded by the Army.

“It is a concern for us because it does appear as if there is one rule for some states which have done the same thing and another rule for us who are just trying our best to assist the security agencies “, he said.

On the collapsed 7-storey building, Former President Goodluck Jonathan described the development as unfortunate and sad.

The Former President said that greater regulation is required to avert future occurrence .

Rivers State Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr John Bazia and Health Commissioner, Professor Chike Princewill briefed the Former President on the rescue operations on the site of the collapsed building.

(Source: Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media)