Governor Nyesom Wike has vowed to disrobe and replace traditional rulers who persistently fail to participate in Rivers state functions and activities of the State Traditional Rulers Council.
Wike, in a New Year Day broadcast in Port Harcourt, Saturday, also declared his administration’s resolve to seize and reallocate abandoned lands and uncompleted buildings in Port Harcourt and environs as a measure to check insecurity in the state aside from the demolition of more shanties.
The Governor stated, “Let me remind all government recognized traditional rulers that they are, at all times, subject to the authority and directives of the State Government and not to other allegiances, culture or otherwise.
“The consistent absence of some first-class traditional rulers, especially the Amayanabo of Okrika, the Amayanabo of Ogu, the Amayanabo of Kalabari, and the Gbenemene Nyo-Khana from participating in State functions is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.
“Should they, therefore, continue to absent themselves from State functions or in the regular meetings and activities of the State Traditional Rulers Council, we would have no option than to direct their immediate replacement.”
On perceived security threats posed by shanties spread across major spots in the state, Wike expressed satisfaction that “With the cooperation of the security agencies we identified and destroyed most shanties that hitherto served as safe havens and hideouts for criminals, who have now been dislodged and dislocated from the State.
“To consolidate on the gains of that exercises, and make the State even safer and more secure, we have decided to demolish all shanties and makeshift structures in identified crime hotspots in Port Harcourt Township and the Illabuchi areas of Diobu from the second week of January 2022.
“Those rebuilding the shanties we had demolished at Eleme or attempting to resume illegal trading activities at the closed Oginigba slaughter have one week to vacate or be arrested and charged to court.
“Additionally, we discovered that most vacant plots or uncompleted buildings in the Old and New Government Reservation Areas (GRA) and some other parts of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas have been hijacked and are now inhabited by criminal elements daily constituting a menace to public safety.
“We have therefore decided to end this danger by taking over all such abandoned plots and uncompleted buildings and re-allocate them to citizens who are ready to develop and put them into effective occupancy.
“In a similar vein, we have revoked certificates of occupancy of several undeveloped plots of land in old GRA, Port Harcourt, for breaching the covenants attached thereto, which we would also re-allocate to interested members of the public for immediate development as part of the ongoing efforts to restore the entire old GRA to its pristine state of development, beauty, and serenity.”
The governor further banned nightclubbing, open prostitution in Port Harcourt GRA, loitering of parts of the GRA by black market forex traders among other new year orders while counting on sustained cooperation of Rivers populace to consolidate on gains of his eventful administration pushing towards 2023 exit.