Gov. Nyesom Wike Raids Ameachi’s Commissioners For State Properties

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Rivers State Government and the states former Commissioner for Information, Mrs Ibim Semenitari traded words on Thursday over the recovery of what the state government described as government vehicles. However, the former minister lamented that the vehicle was rightfully hers and described the government’s action as “an act to rubbish her reputation”.

According to Semenitari; “Over 10 heavily armed policemen  in two trucks, one Ford Transit and a Hilux,  on Thursday, invaded my 12 A, Ernest Ikoli Street, Old G.R.A Port Harcourt, Rivers State, residence, without a search warrant, as they forced their way into my premises.”

“My security guard on duty requested to know their mission and who sent them. They refused to disclose either, but went round taking photographs and recording my premises on video. The security guard got in touch with my assistant who spoke with the men, explaining to them that I was out of town and again requested to know their mission. Again, they declined, insisting on seeing me first. She then got in touch with me on phone as we were uncertain of the identity of the policemen in question.

“Upon further investigation and after about three hours of them laying siege to my premise, I was told that they were from Rivers State Government House and had been sent to recover vehicles in my possession. They attempted to break into a Range Rover SUV belonging to my Husband which was bought long before I was appointed Commissioner in Rivers State Government, damaging the front door. The vehicle in question, contrary to the lies being paraded is not an armoured vehicle and has never at any point belonged to the Rivers State Government nor its agents including myself as Commissioner of Information.

“By the time I finally made contact with them and expressed my displeasure, they insisted that they would take away a Lexus SUV duly allocated to me as Commissioner for Information and which by law I am entitled to leave with upon leaving office.

“The monetization policy of the government allows public officers to leave government with their official vehicles as this is in lieu of vehicle allowance, transport and other allowances, which they cannot draw because of the monetization policy of 2002. Mr. Nyesom Wike served as Chief of Staff, and upon departure left with all the vehicles he used as Chief of Staff. This has been the practice since this democratic dispensation.

“Having served as Commissioner for two tenures, I am entitled to my status cars and have proof of allocation. While I understand that Mr. Wike feels a dire need to destroy the reputation of Governor Rotimi Amaechi and all those who worked with him, it is unacceptable that he will engage in brigandage, thuggery and underhand tactics to do so. A simple letter from any government official requesting me to make a submission or tender documentation would have been the appropriate way to go and I would have willingly tendered all the relevant documents to them.

“Breaking into my home, invading my privacy, damaging my property and removing property from my premises is inappropriate and illegal.

“I have chosen, however, to put out these details in the public space as it is apparent that for some persons only a destruction of my hard earned reputation would do and this I would not accept. My records in the Ministry of Information are crystal clear and I hope that Mr. Wike is able to say same about his tenure in every office he has held.

“Forcing their way into my home unlawfully isn’t the appropriate way for any government that claims legitimacy to behave,” she added.

Meanwhile,   the state government in a statement, yesterday, said it recovered two vehicles allegedly belonging to the state government from the private residence of the former Commissioner for Information to former Governor Amaechi in Port Harcourt,

“In furtherance  of efforts by the  Rivers  State  Government  to recover  government  property  from  officials  of the  immediate  past  administration  in  the  state,  security  agents and Government  House officials, yesterday,  took possession  of  government  vehicles  from the  home  of the  former  spokesperson  for  the  Amaechi  administration,  Semenitari.

“The security  operatives carried  out  the  operation  at the home of Mrs Semenitari  located  on Ernest  Ikoli  Street,  Old GRA, Port Harcourt.

“The operatives recovered a Lexus Armoured Vehicle from the residence and a Range Rover vehicle is said to have been in the possession of the former Information Commissioner.

“It will be recalled that top officials of the Amaechi administration carted away several government  property  and vehicles  prior  to May 29.

“Governor Wike has since assured the people  of  Rivers State that all government  property illegally  carted away before his inauguration  will be recovered  and those found to be involved  in  the  illegal  act will be brought  to  justice,” the statement said.

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