On Thursday December 20, 2012, Social Action, a non governmental organization held a media briefing in Port Harcourt, wrongfully accusing the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Engr. Tele Ikuru, FSNE, of ordering the forceful eviction of Mrs. Lucky an indigene of Okwuzi from the Okwuzi flood relief camp in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Rivers State Government wishes to state unequivocally that at no time did the Deputy Governor of Rivers State order the eviction of ANY person in ANY of the camps set up by the Rivers State Government for ANY reason. Indeed the Deputy Governor took interest in the welfare and well being of residents in the camps that he made it a point of duty to personally visit all camps. This was in addition to assigning two commissioners to each camp to oversee activities and ensure that all complaints of camp residents were promptly and satisfactorily addressed.
The facts are as follows,
1) The Rivers State Government opened up its camps to all persons who had been affected by the flood. No conditions were attached to admissions into the camp except that they should be displaced persons. No medical tests were carried out nor was the HIV status of residents considered necessary in allowing them into the camp, since neither HIV nor AIDS is a communicable disease.
2) The Rivers State Government ensured a healthy environment in camp by not only providing potable water and appropriate sanitation but also posting medical personnel to all the camps. In addition to this, mobile clinics were deployed to patrol the affected local government areas.
3) In addition to camp officials from the Ministry of Social Welfare and security personnel to guarantee the safety of lives and property at the camps, the Chairmen of the affected local government areas made daily visits to the camps to ensure the smooth running of the camps.
4) All of the camps were open to journalists, civil society and all interested persons. No one was debarred from visiting any of the camps as government had nothing to hide and was pleased to collaborate with well meaning individuals committed to the improvement of the camps and well being of its citizens
5) It is curious that Social Action was able to show a recording purportedly of Mrs. Lucky but was neither able to bring her matter to the attention of the Government of Rivers State as soon as it occurred nor offer her any reprieve. We find it unbecoming that rather than assist Mrs. Lucky, Social Action’s philanthropy is geared towards grandstanding and making a mockery of the unfortunate demise of the said victim.
6) The Rivers State Government is fiscally responsible and believes in open government, transparency and accountability. It therefore welcomes any call by any resident of Rivers State for a statement of account and report on the management of the flood disaster.
7) While appreciating the fundamental rights of all persons and groups, the Rivers State Government would ask all such groups to kindly resist the attempt to cast aspersions and throw mud on government officials just because they are public officers.
8) The undertone and nature of the statement by Social Action is worrisome and appears to be another politically motivated attempt to discredit the administration of the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
9) The Rivers State Government reiterates its commitment to the protection of all persons who live, work and do business in Rivers State and remains indebted to the people of Rivers State for their mandate and their unshaken trust in the leadership of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi despite the shenanigans of his political detractors.
Commissioner of Information and Communications, Rivers State