Following the recent demolition of two properties belonging to the Bayelsa State Government in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has clarified that the action was not driven by political reasons.
The demolition had drawn criticism from the Bayelsa State Government, with Andrew Esua, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, expressing concern over the incident.
Esua emphasised the longstanding amicable relationship between the two sister states and believed that the issue could have been resolved through peaceful means.
Governor Wike, who spoke at the Port Harcourt International Airport upon his return from a foreign trip in the early hours of Thursday, shed light on the matter.
He revealed that the demolition was part of his administration’s urban renewal plan, citing previous instances where properties belonging to other states, including Edo State, were also demolished after consultations with the respective governors at the time.
Highlighting the beneficiaries of his urban renewal policy, Governor Wike mentioned prominent individuals and organizations such as Mr. Mike Adenuga, the Nigeria Railway Corporation, and the Nigeria Airways. He firmly asserted that despite the different interpretations given to his actions, he owed no apologies.
Governor Wike explained that the demolished sites would be utilized to construct additional residential quarters for judges in Rivers State.
He underscored the government’s prerogative to decide the course of development in the state and expressed disappointment with Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri’s failure to fulfill promises of renovating the properties. Governor Wike mentioned Governor Diri’s unsuccessful attempts to secure more time from the Rivers State Government, as well as the unfulfilled commitments made personally and in the presence of Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
Accusing Bayelsa State of displaying hostility towards Rivers State in other instances involving jointly owned properties, Governor Wike defended the demolition action.
Recall that the properties, located at 5 and 9 Akassa Street in the Old GRA area of Port Harcourt, were previously utilized as residential quarters for Bayelsa State Government Liaison Office workers.