by Sani Tukur,
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said the decision of his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors Forum to allow the federal government withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, is illegal.
He, however, indicated that he supported the decision because the motive was that the money would be largely used to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr. Wike stated this on Friday shortly after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The government has said the money is to be used in the fight against Boko Haram and insecurity across the country.
The decision by the NGF has generated controversy even among the governors with one of them, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, challenging the decision in court.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Mr. Wike said, “Even though for me it’s illegal, however, we are told we are fighting insurgency and no right thinking person in the country will say that he would not support the government in fighting against insurgency.
“But on the other hand too, I believe that when you are talking about environmental issues in the Niger Delta particularly the Ogoniland, I believe that we can also take money from there (Excess Crude Account) to solve the problem of Ogoniland and other Niger Delta areas. That is my position,” he said.
Mr. Wike said his meeting with Mr. Buhari centred on security matters in his state, adding that he was happy with the discussion.
The governor, who described his relationship with the president as cordial, said their discussion also bordered on other developmental issues in the state.
“I’m happy with the discussion and I believe that something has to be done about (security) it. It is nothing political just security issues that affects the state and things that may lead to the breakdown of law and order. We talked on security challenges and he received me very well.
“We don’t have any bad relationship, I come here when he asked me to come,” he said.
On the allegation that he manipulated the recently held National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to install his preferred candidate as chairman of the party, Mr. Wike said it was impossible for an individual to install a party chairman in Nigeria.
“It is impossible for one person to own a party. The only thing is that people are vibrating and the ruling party is jittery about it,” he said.