Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has reiterated the need for national unity. He said God made no mistake in bringing people of diverse cultures under one nation.
Wike, therefore, advised that Nigeria must be protected against violent secessionist agitations.
He noted that the war against insecurity had suffered a setback because Army officers became partisan instead of being professional.
The governor stated this on Monday when the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
At another event Tuesday, Wike lamented that Boko Haram had become the biggest threat to the country’s unity after the 1967-1970 civil war.
During the visit by Yahaya, Wike implored him (COAS) to prevent his men and officers from getting involved in mainstream politics.
He said: “God who has put the different people together did not make a mistake by saying there should be a country called Nigeria.
“There must be differences. There must be anger. It is for us to sit down to discuss it. I have said generally that I am not against anybody agitating for whatever they want to agitate. My advice is that they should not be violent.
“So, if anybody says they’re agitating, I have no problem. I believe in the unity of this country.”
The governor buttressed his claim that officers and men of the Nigerian Army (NA) were involved in politics by citing the roles they played during the 2019 general elections in the state.
He alleged that the sixth Division of the NA in Port Harcourt was turned into a collation centre during the elections.
The governor however, added that Rivers State women were able to stop the Army from rigging the polls.
Wike assured that his administration was always willing to work with all the security agencies in the fight against crimes in the state.
His words: “I don’t understand why we cannot remove politics from our jobs. Let’s do our jobs and keep the country going. I can tell you that I’m willing and ready to work with all the security agencies, not only the Army.
“The gunboats we are providing are almost ready. We have paid for everything. We will also provide vehicles. All I need is the security of my people. I’m here to partner you.”
Wike pointed out that banditry, kidnapping, and agitations were different dimensions of crimes that had put Nigeria in a dire situation.
According to him, while no form of criminality should be condoned, those agitating against perceived injustice and seeking to address their grievances, should not adopt violence.
He commended Yahaya for the proactive measures he has taken to address the threats to the sovereignty of the country.
Wike said: “You should continue to maintain integrity, that respect for the Nigerian Army. It is very important.
Even if you leave office today, you can say that while I was Chief of Army Staff, I maintained that the integrity of the Army must be protected at all times.”
At the flag-off of the 2021 Army Combat Support Arms Training Week, (COSAT 2021), in Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said there was the need for the military to have the latest technology.
Wike, who was the event’s keynote speaker said: “”All over the world, countries are rapidly modernising their Armies by increasing their weapon systems and strengthening their efficiency and combat readiness in response to the increasingly changing nature of the modern time battlefields.
“Nigeria cannot be different if we are interested in having a military force that can easily deter external aggression, meet our international and regional military objectives as well as defeat internal insurrections and existential threats to national security.
“Our national strategic goal in this regard, therefore, should be, to create and have an entirely self-reliant defence industrial sector that is driven substantially by local technological inputs that meet the needs for assembling modern military weaponry, equipment, including missiles and other combat capabilities.
“Nothing should therefore be spared by the Federal Government to build the most modern and strongest Army in Africa and restore our country and the black race to the position of strength, pride, and prosperity.”
He lamented that the country was lagging behind in Science, resulting in her dependence on countries with superior military technology.
Yahaya described the conference as an enabler to the success of the Army in its operations.
He appreciated Wike for supporting the military in the state.