Politicians Setting Rivers On Fire – Ex-SSS DG

anti-amaechiPoliticians have been accused of setting Rivers State on fire for their own selfish interests even as the Soku oil wells dispute and the jostle for political space between the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have been identified as the major cause of the political crisis in the oil-rich state.

A former Director General, State Security Service (SSS), Chief Albert Horsfall, who made this known in a statement issued in Port Harcourt Wednesday, also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene to ensure that the state and the nation are not plunged into turmoil.

He said: “As an elder statesman, not involved in current partisan politics, my main interest is to advise and caution against the repeat of some of the irresponsible practices which in the past had landed the state and even Nigeria in serious turmoil and bloodshed; and indeed to protect the interest and wellbeing of the ordinary people from the repeat of similar sad events of the recent past.

“The latest in the series of regrettable events appeared  centred on two issues, namely the issue of Soku oil wells and the political activities in the state, of the newly created APC and PDP led by leaders of these parties, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, and his group and Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, and his group”.

On the issue of Suku oil wells, Horsfall, who also was Chairman of defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), said while both Rivers and Bayelsa States had laid claims to the oil wells, the matter now seemed to be further made worse by the issue of oil proceeds from the disputed oil wells and as to which state ought to receive the payments.

According to Horsfall, who is from Kalabari, “Ordinarily, the people in these areas of the two neighbouring states are all Ijaws and therefore brothers. Whereas the two governments will be more interested in allocation of the oil proceeds, these communities are in fact rather interested in territories and peoples.

“The communities concerned have for hundred years been indigenes of Kalabari (in Rivers) or Nembe (in Bayelsa) as the case may be. Therefore, what these communities are interested in is to return to the status quo ante so that those who are Kalabari will remain in Kalabari territory and those who are Nembe will remain in Nembe territory. Pure and simple!

“I am therefore calling on President Jonathan to intervene and either restore the position as they were before the disputed administrative map of 2000 or to order a stay of action on both sides in claiming and counter claiming one position or the other until an amicable and agreeable solution has been found to the issue by a competent tribunal or court of law”.

On the recent turn of events in the political scene of Rivers State, Horsfall recalled that last year he warned politicians on the implications of encouraging ex-militants to return to the streets by engaging them in partisan politics.

“Apparently, my advice had never been heeded because it would appear that many of these elements are still being encouraged by politicians to return to their previous activities in support of partisan politics. This, to say the least, is regrettable. Politicians from both sides will do well to practice politics as we understand it, canvass for votes, mount rallies, picket individuals and groups for their own interest”, he said.

The former number one spy chief lamented that both parties in the political feud in the state were not only engaging the ex-militants but also the police in their desperation for political control, adding that the trend was setting the state on fire.

“To discover that as it appears now, both parties are once again instigating and supporting political violence and even getting the Nigerian police allegedly involved in favour of one party or the other is bad politics and therefore condemnable. The latest violent event is the one that led to the alleged shooting with rubber bullets of a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Surely such inimical practices are not good politics, not in anyone’s interest and must stop immediately.

“The Nigerian police even in the days of some of the worst tensions in this country such the one that has led to the civil war, had usually been seen to be impartial and professional.

“Once again, the time has come to call on the police authorities to insulate their personnel at all level from being involved in these alleged acts and to maintain their usual good integrity and impartiality especially in this matter of partisan politics.

“Also we must advise political parties not to encourage their members to break the law like the recent case of the legislator who allegedly brazenly and wilfully allowed his car to be used to crush a serving police officer and an alleged political opponent to death, events which led the police to release the questionable story that the legislator then tried to flee from justice via the state government`s owned private jet. That must be properly investigated and the culprits brought speedily to book”, Horsfall said.

He appealed to all sides to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign in Rivers State so as to allow the ordinary folks go about their daily lives without fear of violence and unnecessary tension.
“I will want to conclude by saying that politics is for politicians. Both sides are free to play politics according to the rules. But don’t bring the police into politics and don’t play politics with the police”, he cautioned.