Naomi Gabriel —
Reactions have trailed the recent ejection of residents from more than 10 waterfront communities in Diobu, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital by the Rivers State Government.
Former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside described the forceful ejection as “wicked, evil and inhuman” and added that the Governor Nyesom Wike led government treated the waterfront occupants with cruelty as there was no lawful quit notice issued or compensation paid.
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“This commando-style of doing things always adopted by Wike has become the hallmark of his administration and its legacy, Peterside said.
The former Rivers State governorship candidate stressed that shelter was a right and fundamental to the welfare, survival and health of man.
“For Wike, who, in the over six years of his regime, was unable to provide any sort of housing programme for Rivers residents, to sack them from the little they had, shows how he holds Rivers’ poor population in disdain.
“Some of the residents of those demolished areas, most of whom are Rivers people, had lived there for over forty years.
“His actions have dislocated many families and ruined their economic survival, throwing them into the worst form of poverty. Gov. Wike’s action has created more nuisance than sanity or security,” he stated.
Peterside said the urban renewal programme of the Rivers State government such should follow due process with human face.
“I totally support urban renewal but it should follow due process that will respect human dignity and inflict minimal pains on the people.
“A responsible government would plan with inputs from all critical stakeholders, reach an understanding with residents of the affected areas on a workable timeline, and pay necessary financial compensation to cushion the effects of consequential migration.
“Rivers people do not know the vision and development goals of the Wike administration for waterfront development other than primitive acquisition of land for the governor and his cronies” said Dakuku.
Also in a press statement signed by its chairman, Gift Otonnah, Diobu Chiefs and Elders Forum condemned the ongoing demolition of buildings at the Illuoabuchi waterfront by the Rivers state government.
The Forum described the demolition and displacement of the people as wicked, direct attack on the non-indigenes in Diobu and insensitivity of the perpetrators on the poor mass.
The Diobu chiefs & Elder also claimed that Iloubuchi waterfront, like Ikokwu spare parts area is being demolished for for allegedly being the stronghold of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt (phalga)3, and not because of the shanties erected there.
“We call on those affected by this wickedness in governance, including other residents and voters in Diobu area of Port Harcourt to come out and condemn this act with their PVC come 2023 elections.
“The people of Diobu must not allow these type of leaders again, to avoid being pushed out to the street.