The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Friday highlighted some of the sacrifices he made for the people of Rivers State as governor, disclosing that the security challenges he met upon assumption of office drove sleep from his eyes.
Amaechi, who governed Rivers from 2007 to 2015, stated that he could not get himself to sleep at night when residents of the state were living in fear, and as a result keeps awake until people of the state have all fallen asleep.
He recalled the level of insecurity in the state when he assumed office as governor, stressing that the state was reeked with widespread killings and kidnappings as at then.
The ex-governor maintained that because of his administration’s zero tolerance for crime and commitment to protecting lives and property in the Rivers, he fought the situation to a standstill.
According to him, “Don’t forget when I became the governor, the people were living in fear. There was curfew.
“I had to make sure that the curfew end. Killings, kidnappings and all forms of criminality were everywhere in the state.
“There was a heavy military presence and people were walking with their hands raised up. I took away the soldiers from the streets because I provided social and physical security.
“I stayed awake and fought insecurity to a standstill for Rivers people to sleep.
“I enhanced the wage bill of the Police Force by paying them allowances, and all that was to protect the citizens and I created opportunities for people to get employed.
“So, I confronted those insecurity challenges and brought back hope and sanity to the State. I worked tirelessly with the security agencies and ensured that people could move freely and do their businesses without fear or molestation.
“Businesses started springing up again in all parts of the State and people could go to night clubs and live free, peaceful lives.
“I also focused on what I call social security. Social security includes creating employment for the people. I had said to people, the responsibility of government is to provide legitimate economy.”
Amaechi said it was unfortunate that his successor, Governor Nyesom Wike has not been able to replicate similar feat, alleging that the present security situation in the state has worsened under him.
According to him, “The first tool to a successful society is human capital development, that’s why I didn’t take education lightly.
“I had about 28% budgetary allocation for education. So, I did all those things to ensure that we reduce crime.
“The day you don’t provide legitimate economy for the people, they will provide for themselves illegitimate economy. What is illegitimate economy? Armed robbery, kidnapping, theft.
”I feel very excited when people walk up to me and say, Sir, I am James, I studied A,B,C in the U.K. or US due to your scholarship programme.”