Why I Use Military To Enforce Law — Amaechi

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Against the backdrop of controversy generated over the use of military personnel to enforce the law, the Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi has assured Rivers people and residents of Port Harcourt that military personnel working with officials of the Rivers State Traffic Management Agency (TIMARIV) would be withdrawn from the streets as soon as the roads are rid of illegal trading and hoodlums.

Amaechi spoke during a radio phone-in programme in Port Harcourt.Explaining to Rivers people why the military was drafted to assist TIMARIV, Governor Amaechi also urged the people to behave in a responsible manner by obeying the laws and regulations of the state.

“Before we called for soldiers, we had used the police, we got reports that people were beating up the policemen and the TIMARIV officials, chasing them with machete and guns,” the governor said.

He explained that as the Chief Security Officer of the State, he is responsible enough to know that this is a democratic state and that the soldiers should not molest anybody.But people must know too that they must be responsible to the state.

Amaechi recalled that “when TIMARIV was set up, we said the civilians should set out on the streets and enforce law and order. Instead of obeying them they were being beaten and every time we had to take TIMARIV staff to hospitals.

“We also discovered that some of those who pose as roadside traders and hawkers carry guns to rob people on the roads and streets particularly when there is traffic jam. So we decided that the Army should accompany TIMARIV to ensure that people obey the law. If the police try to make you understand and you don’t, then the soldiers will. “It won’t last for too long, we only need six months. Once we clear the roads and junctions, the Army will return to their barracks.”

Governor Amaechi recalled that the state was insecure when he first came in as governor, but after enforcing law and order using the army, the state has recorded progress.

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“Business is returning. There is an improvement in our IGR. We were doing 2.5 billion naira, now we are doing 4.5 billion. So I’m proud to say that people are beginning to regain confidence in Port Harcourt. I will ensure that that confidence continues to grow even if it means bringing out the army.”

Answering questions on education and health, Governor Amaechi stated that out of the over 436 completed primary schools, 200 would be fully functional by September, while 100 Health Centres are up and running with doctors and nurses working. “175 of those schools are being furnished rapidly and before the end of the year we will increase the number of schools that are functional. We don’t owe salaries. Since I became governor we have paid salaries,” he said.

Asked why he is yet to form a full cabinet, Governor Amaechi said: “We have seven commissioners in place now, we have sent a list of eight more to the state House of Assembly to make it 15. There is no law that says we must exceed 7 or 8. The Permanent Secretaries are the accounting officers of the different ministries and they are functioning now in the absence of political heads.”

He further assured the people of better service delivery this second tenure.

“Just wait and see. I’m not a governor seeking for popularity; I’m a governor seeking to change the lives of our people.”

The governor expressed his determination to achieve the objectives of providing water, power, health, education, transportation, infrastructure and other basic developmental facilities.

—Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

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