Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom have challenged the Federal Government to deploy the same zeal it used in the re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
Both governors spoke at different locations and occasions.
Wike, who issued N50million bounty on Nnamdi Kalu in October 2020, weighed in for his former detractor demanding that Miyetti Allah, too, should be prosecuted. He joined the clamour for fair trial for the re-arrested. Wike has also joined the jibe at the presidency by demanding for equal zeal to arrest bandits that have been causing mayhem in Nigeria.
Wike had in the heat of killing of security operatives and burning of police stations in Rivers State announced a N50million bounty for the capture of Kalu. In response, Kalu had announced a N100million counter-bounty on Governor Wike. The altercation brought hostility between the state governor who had over the years enjoyed huge support from the Igbos in the state though Wike made it clear that he was not fighting the Igbos but would not allow IPOB destroy the state.
In a statement in Port Harcourt Thursday, July 1, 2021, however, Governor Wike called on the central government to ensure that rule of law and due process were followed in the prosecution of Kanu.
He said conscientious effort must be made by the FG to allay the fears of some Nigerians that Kanu is not being prosecuted because he comes from a particular section of the country.
Wike, who made this assertion during an interview on Arise Television, explained that irrespective of the differences the arrested IPOB leader has with Rivers State government, he suggested that due process must be followed in his prosecution.
He stated that for the Federal Government to demonstrate its resolve to address insecurity crisis facing the country, the same dragnet deployed to arrest Kanu must as a matter of urgency be extended to bandits and Miyetti Allah militias terrorising the country.
“We must not make hullabaloo about the prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu. I don’t agree with his principle. I have come out and said you (Kanu) cannot annex my state to be your own. But that does not mean that you’ll not allow the law to take its course,” he said.
The governor insisted that government must arrest every wanted terrorist on its watch list and ensure they are brought to book to face the full wrath of the law.
“You cannot afford to discriminate at this point. You cannot say because Nnamdi Kanu is from a particular area, let us prosecute him. The same thing must apply to all other people, the bandits, Miyetti Allah,” the governor said.
Responding to question on PDP’s decision to proceed to court against Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, to vacate his position following his defection to APC, Wike said the PDP will be justified if that happens since it was the party that got the judgment that ushered him (Matawalle) into office.
He expressed the optimism that the National Working Committee of the PDP will take all necessary legal measures to protect the Zamfara State deputy governor, who refused to jump ship with Governor Matawalle.
The governor also maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of his Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing Delta State, has further demonstrated that he will not ensure free, fair and credible election in 2023.
Speaking in the same vein, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who has always spoken hard against the series of attacks by herdsmen on his state, leading to loss of hundreds of lives, said: “Let me say if the Federal Government has demonstrated capacity and can arrest Nnamdi Kanu they should demonstrate the same zeal and will and decision to arrest these Fulani herdsmen that are terrorising this country.”
According to him, “Let that be done; these ones are living here with us, if Nnamdi Kanu can be arrested abroad, I believe the government can arrest herdsmen especially Miyetti Allah who have owned up to the killings in Benue State. Who have owned up to killings in Benue State and continued to terrorise our land.
“It is laughable that Miyetti Allah is calling Nnamdi Kanu terrorist, someone fighting for the liberation of his people is being called a terrorist by a terrorist organisation and Fulani herdsmen.”
Ortom, who has repeatedly accused Abuja of complicit in the herdsmen attacks, said: “So, the Federal Government should rise up to its responsibility and arrest them. I have no problem in the trial of Kanu, due process must be followed; but the Federal Government should also do justice by arresting the men who have been terrorising our land. People have been causing us so much pain and challenge to our economy? If the Federal Government does not do that it means they are not serious.”