Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state has stoked the fire of the no-love lost relationship between him and the Federal Government as he slammed the amnesty policy on militants and insurgent groups in the country, saying that it had encouraged militancy and insecurity.
Amaechi, who was speaking at an interactive session with mainly Nigerians in Diaspora at Chatham House in London yesterday, said the amnesty programme for militants in the Niger-Delta was a wrong step because the monthly stipends paid to militants was unsustainable.
“I don’t believe in amnesty for militants and insurgents. Amnesty is given to people found guilty by courts of law, not those engaged in criminal activities”, he said, warning that more insecurity could be witnessed in the area once the welfare payments to the militants ceased.
He proposed eradication or reduction of poverty, justice and equal opportunities for all Nigerians as the panacea to insecurity.
Governor Amaechi, who earlier delivered a lecture on ‘Reform and Resource Governance in Nigeria’ at the House, accused the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan of backing protest groups in Rivers State thereby leading to a gradual return of militants that were dislodged from the state.
He also accused the Federal Government of victimizing him, his supporters and people of Rivers state in general on grounds that he was nursing a higher political ambition.
“I have not expressed an ambition for a higher political office, but even if I did, is there any Nigerian law that criminalises a political ambition”, he asked rhetorically.
He bemoaned the FG’s posture of “bringing down” anyone it perceived to be nursing presidential ambition, adding that “just because they believe one man is having a presidential ambition”, the entire state has to suffer.
On the recent fracas in the state house of assembly, Amaechi blamed Mr. Joseph Mbu for dereliction of duty, saying had he performed his job without being partisan the ugly situation would have been averted.
The governor, however, warned that if the impasse in the state was allowed to linger, Rivers people would continue to lose; but noted that the government at the centre in Abuja would have to explain to the people why they were being victimized and why they should vote for the Mr. Jonathan in future elections.