BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, Port Harcourt
The federal government has approved the sum of $175million to secure seven coastal states of the country, including Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Lagos, Ondo and Rivers.
The minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this at the weekend in Port Harcourt, while speaking at a birthday party in honour of a legal practitioner, Kingsley Weli.
Amaechi said, “The federal government has approved $175million to secure all the coastal states, from Lagos to Ondo, to Delta, to Bayelsa, to Rivers, to Akwa Ibom and to Cross River. The contract has been awarded. Be assured that in the next few months, all these crimes will reduce or stop.”
He decried the rate at which the economy of Rivers State is fast crumbling, saying before he left office as governor on 2015, the economy of the state was ahead of the economy of Lagos State.
The minister said, “The economy of Port Harcourt is drastically going down. By the time I left office in 2015, our economy overtook Lagos economy, even though it was an oil economy. It overtook Lagos because of the oil.
“Now our economy is going down. Companies are moving out, including Intel’s. By the decision of the Federal Government, Intel’s is moving out. Most oil companies will move out except something changes. As they are moving out, we are creating poverty. The more poverty you create, the more crime increases.
“As minister of Transportation, my greatest regret in politics is being a Minister of Transportation and I cannot enter Port Harcourt. As a minister, I am in a position to determine that the sea port should work and work well.
“But it is not working well because the insurance to Port Harcourt is War Insurance. War Insurance means that there is war in Port Harcourt. So for any vessel to come here, that vessel must get War Insurance. Now, if that vessel gets War Insurance, the cargo it will carry to Port Harcourt will be double the price. So, if you asl an Igbo man in Aba to pass through Port Harcourt, he will say no, let him pass through Lagos because it is cheaper.”
Amaechi stated that he doesn’t visit Rivers State often so as not to distract Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike from governance of the state.
He said, “Most people ask me why I don’t come to Port Harcourt? I don’t come to Port Harcourt because it will be unfair to come to Port Harcourt and make the governor uncomfortable. The governor should be allowed to govern his tenure so that you don’t distract the governor. I am trying as much as possible to keep away to allow him govern the state.”