ByÂ George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”Â Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has told the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Mr. Ateke Tom, that he had no reason to fret over his safety as long as he came out of the creeks and surrenders the entire arsenal in his armoury.
Amaechi, who spoke at a media parley with journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, disclosed that the fears of Ateke over his life were unfounded, adding that he would be well protected, because the constitution mandates him as governor to protect the lives of every one in his territory.
â€œPeople are asking whether Ateke and I have reconciled but I want to say that Ateke is my friend, how can you reconcile me and my friend when there was no quarrel between us?â€
He, however, disclosed that he met Ateke only once when he was speaker of the State House ofÂ Assembly, adding that ever since, they had never met one-on-one.
â€œ So I have no reason to hate him for any reason,â€ said Amaechi, who warned that any militant who refuses to turn in his arms at the expiration of the Federal Governmentâ€™s deadline on October 4, 2009, stood the risk of being smoked out of the swamps and made to face the law.
He also vowed that â€œonly God and the courts can stop me from demolishing the waterfrontsâ€, pointing that he had met all those concerned on the waterfront issue, including stakeholders, community leaders as well as the nod of his entire cabinet.
The governor frowned on insinuations that the pulling down of the shanties had ethnic colouration, announcing that the place would be pulled down in phases, starting with Diobu to Rumelumeni, Town area and back to Diobu..
He said N4 billion was paid as compensation to the landlords of Njemanze waterfront, adding that all the waterfront landlords would be paid before their structures are demolished.
The governor said the greatest achievement of his administration had been in the education sector, noting security had improved greatly in Port Harcourt and the entire state.