By Williams Anuku, Abuja
Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, on Tuesday,criticized Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State,over the recent killing of 21 people who were returning from church service on new year’s day.
He said the unfortunate incident which occurred at Ogba\Egbema\Ndoni Local Government Area of the state has given the governor away as someone lacking firm grip of security situation in the state.
The Minister also noted that Wike ought to have been impeached if the State House of Assembly was living up to its responsibilities.
Amaechi reacted to the killings, after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, to fine-tune arrangements for the commissioning of 10 new coaches and two locomotives to boost the Kaduna-Abuja rail transport service.
The President is scheduled to commission the railway infrastructure on Thursday this week.
Recall that gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on some people returning from church in the early hours of Monday, where they had gone to usher in the new year, killing 21 people in the process.
Unconfirmed reports alleged that the incident may have been a fallout of cult related fighting believed to be rampant in the area because of backing from powerful politicians.
Amaechi while fielding questions from State House reporters, said he was marveled that despite the security apparatus at the disposal of the governor, such killings were still rampant.
He noted that during his time as governor, he ensured that the citizens had adequate protection despite the compromise of his security officials by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said,”I think the governor needs to get a bit more serious, he should stop encouraging the militant groups in the name of politics and election.
“You heard about 21 only in Ndoni, what about in Akutoru where two persons were killed, what about other LGA. I think there should be much more than age to qualify to be a governor because it takes much more than age.
“I was governor of Rivers State, I did not play PDP/APC politics, life is life it has no symbol. Nobody has APC life or PDP life. The first responsibility of a governor which is what the oath of office requires, is that you swear to protect lives and property.
“When you don’t protect life and property what do you do? Is impeachment. Unfortunately there is no House of Assembly in Rivers State.
“There is too much noise coming from Rivers State, the governor just wakes up and starts shouting, abusing people that’s all he does. Mr. Project painting roads, the first thing you do is human capacity development and keeping human beings and we are losing lives every day.
“Two important men were kidnapped before I left Port Harcourt, the first person is Chief Adoke till today, nearly one month after nobody can tell you where he is. The next person is Chief Omogu was kidnapped luckily the villagers ran after the people and rescued the old man from the bush.
“It never happened when I was governor. We (the security and myself) ensured that we will not sleep at night. We stayed awake for then citizens to sleep, I think the governor needs to do much more than that or quit the office.
“I just don’t know what his lacking in him because the things are there for him to work with. He is not like me when during my second term, President Goodluck Jonathan took away Police, SSS, the Army brigade commander couldn’t visit me but in his case everyone is disposed to him.
“He can see the commissioner of Police, director SSS, unlike my period but we fought insecurity. But because he needs these people for election purpose that is why they are still there, that is why they are killing we need much more than that.
“Unfortunately, I swore not to be talking about Rivers anymore but you don’t keep quite in the face of 21 one lives, you can’t just keep quite. I have said it that nobody should criticize his successor, let him do his beat but a successor that watches the lives of people go like that and does not care, God will bless him.”
On the Kaduna-Abuja route, Amaechi gave indications that with the acquisition of additional locomotives,the passenger fares will be jacked up a bit to frustrate racketeers who are harping on the infrastructure deficit to do brisk business.
He said,”I just met the President where we discussed the commissioning of 10 new coaches and 2 locomotives which will bring the total number of coaches to 14 on the Kaduna-Abuja route.
“The President is pleased with the arrangement because basically we will then be able to discharge the passengers pressure that we have had, that is why you have ticket racketeering.
“When demand outstrips supply then you see all sorts of attempts to cheat the passengers. There are two things I know the President like, I have mentioned one, the second one, is after commissioning even the passengers agree that the cost of transportation to kaduna via the railway is a bit too cheap.
“So there will be a need to increase the price of the cost and then there will be more comfort. More comfort in the sense that when you have excess seats multiply by the number of passengers that will come, then anybody that wants to racketeer will have to eat the tickets himself.”
On the proposed number of trips to and fro Abuja-Kaduna daily, Amaechi said one of the locomotive will be dedicated to direct trip from Kaduna to Abuja non-stop.
“I am not an expert in that area but one thing I know is that one of the locomotive will be dedicated to direct trip from Kaduna to Abuja non-stop, that should be doing 1:15 or 1:20 minutes non-stop.
“That will enable those living in Kaduna and working in Abuja to actually come to work on time. If you leave at 6am by 7:15, 7:20 you should be in Abuja,”he told State House correspondents.