Wike Doles Out 450m To Victims of 2019 “Bloody” Election Violence

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Bright Dike ,Port Harcourt

Victims of the bloody 2019 general elections in Ijaw communities in Abonema, Akuku-Toru local government area of the state have received the sum of N450 million released by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state.

The governor, who met with the victims, deceased families and the council of chiefs at the Multi purpose hall in Abonema Monday said their bank accounts would be credited with the amount of money due them from Wednesday

Speaking during a meeting preparatory to giving out the cash, Governor Wike said the gesture was in fulfilment of his promise to the people of Abonnema at the Church service to honour those who lost their lives, the injured and those who lost properties during the crisis.

The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, said categories of beneficiaries included families of deceased persons, the wounded, those arrested and those who lost their property.

Wike said, “No amount of money could adequately compensate the people for the harrowing experience they suffered in the hands of the Nigerian Army”, stating that he appreciates the support and commitment of the People of Akuku Toru Local Government Area before, during and after the elections.

Danagogo recalled that during a church programme organised by the community after the election to mourn the deceased, the Governor, who was in attendance, setup a committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, to identify victims for compensation.

He noted that following the report of the committee, the Governor released N450million Naira and insisted that the money should be paid to the accounts of the beneficiaries directly.

He said he would continue to execute programmes that would positively impact on the lives of the people of the Area with an assurance that, “The second phase of the Abonnema ring road would be commissioned before the end of June, stressing that the contractor has been fully paid.

He noted that following the report of the committee, the Governor released N450million Naira and insisted that the money should be paid to the accounts of the beneficiaries directly.

“We are here to inform you that the money is ready and by Wednesday you will begin to receive the alerts.

“We have a list of 37 persons that lost their lives. Remember, money is not enough. But the Governor is doing this to let you know that he stands with you. If there is anybody I know that is reliable to stand with you in the face of any adversity, it is Governor Wike,” he said.

Wike gave assurances that the state Government will continue its efforts in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in his words : “In the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic we have continued to stand by the People of the State by taking practical steps not only to protect Rivers People but to also provide palliatives to bring succour to the vulnerable and less privileged unlike the selfish politicians in other political parties who only visit the people to solicit for votes during elections but do not have the interest of the people at heart.”

Before the election, Rivers state had already been listed as one of the flashpoints and it unsurprisingly lived up to expectation.

Parts of the state were engulfed in violence during the presidential and National Assembly elections. Sporadic gunshots, snatching of election materials and general voter apathy marred the election.

Hell was let loose on the narrow streets of Abonnema on the day of the presidential election on Feb. 23, 2019 when armed men engaged soldiers on election duty in a shoot-out that lasted hours leading to death of civilians and soldiers in the area.

No fewer than eleven were feared killed while others sustained varying degrees of injury.

The Amayanabo of Abonema, King Disreal Bobmanuel, appreciated Wike for identifying with the people of his kingdom.

Describing the Governor as dependable, he recalled that the community cried to him over the destruction and killings that occurred in the community during the election and he wa⁹sted no time to visit them.

He said, “The compensation is quite generous. I want to thank Wike for being a friend to the people of Akuku-Toru. I thank him for showing concern and helping us each time we go to him”.

He urged the beneficiaries to think of how to properly utilise the money and avoid engaging in frivolities and costly enjoyment.

Earlier, the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Hon Rowland Sekibo, said they remembered the event of 2019 with mixed feelings.

He said, “I thank Governor Wike for the show of love. It is his leadership style that made us decide to support him”

A beneficiary, Mr Minamango Romeo who sustained bullet wounds thanked the governor for the benevolence.

Meanwhile, the Rivers government alleged that some unnamed politicians in Abuja are plotting to force emergency rule in the state.

In an earlier report, the state commissioner for information and communications, Paulinus Nsirim, pointed out that those behind the plot were citizens of the state residing in Abuja. He, however, did not mention names.

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