Wednesday, August 2, 2017 12:21 pm
…Says “You’re hostile to business, investment”
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Former Commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers Statements, Dr.Austin Tam George, has slammed his his former boss, Governor Nyesom Wike for the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy of Novotel hotel last Sunday. Government alleged that it was a venue of electoral fraud.
Dr George who took to his Facebook page asserts: “The revocation of the certificate of occupancy of Novotel Hotel in Port Harcourt over the weekend by Governor Nyesom Wike disappoints and saddens me.
“If a business premises is suspected or established to be a crime scene, the police, acting on a court order, could move in to take control.
“It is extraordinary for a State government to revoke the certificate of occupancy of a business, simply because opposition politicians lodged there. Politicians in the state might think this is part of politics. But it is a hostile signal to the business and investment community that Rivers State is a toxic environment, and that a 99-year land lease could be withdrawn impulsively at any minute, by the governor.
“As Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, I held 41 media events, including world press conferences and television appearances, to make the case for the state as Nigeria’s best investment destination. Even now, the Wike administration is running an expensive advertorial on CNN, inviting foreign direct investment into Rivers State.”
The former Spokesman for the Rivers government pointed out that “The whimsical attack on Novotel feeds the noxious narrative that Rivers State is a risky place to invest. It is a direct kick in the face of the administration’s own efforts to attract investors to the state, in order to create jobs.”
Dr George warned Wike that as governor of Rivers State, Mr Rotimi Amaechi made similar wrong-headed and extreme decisions. “I urge governor Wike to avoid taking the same intemperate path, in the interest of the State,” Dr.George cautioned.
However, in a swift reaction, Simeon Nwakaudu, the Special Assistant to the Govenor said that Dr Tam-George is entitled to his opinion.
Nwakaudu alleged that “Novotel is a den of electoral fraud and malpractice. The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and his faction within the APC have turned that hotel to the centre of deadly machinations, from where mayhem is unleashed on the good people of Rivers State.
He reminded Dr Tam-George that Governor Wike never plays to the gallery. He is always committed to the defence of Rivers people, claiming Tam-George is aware that Rotimi Amaechi and hundreds of security personnel used Novotel on 10 December 2016 to plot and execute the killing of Rivers people during the rerun elections.
Nwakaudu further alleged that it was in Novotel that Amaechi and some security personnel sat down to concoct results, stealing the mandate of the people on 10 December 2016.
He claimed that on Saturday, 30th July, 2017, Novotel lived up to its notorious reputation as a den of electoral fraudsters. Amaechi and his associates used the hotel to rig the APC Local Government Congress. This ungodly action led to mass protests across Port Harcourt and even within the premises of Novotel.
Nwakaude further explained that it took the timely intervention of Governor Wike for the situation to be contained as the security personnel detailed to assist the Minister of Transportation rig his party’s non-elective congress almost opened fire on the protesters.
The media aide to the Governor submitted: “While Governor Wike continues to build the framework for investments in the state, he will continue to insist that all businesses operate in line with the tenets of the law. Novotel is not above the law. Therefore, it must face the consequences of its illegal actions.
“In case Tam-George has conveniently forgotten, Rivers State plays host to the largest fertiliser plant in the world, Indorama. The facility was commissioned last week by the Acting President. I will oblige him the information that Notore Fertiliser Plant, the second largest fertiliser facility in Nigeria is also domiciled in Rivers State.
“The GreenGas LNG Facility being constructed by Grenville Oil and Gas Limited in Rumuji community of Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State is the new N140 billion project that will add value to the economy of the country.
“As I write, the NLNG Limited is building trains 7 and 8 in Bonny, Rivers State , which will take the capacity of the NLNG to 30 million tonnes and make it third in the world. It will generate over 100, 000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.
“Tam-George more than any other person should be aware that sponsored propaganda has no effect on the Wike administration.
“The same statement credited to Tam-George was earlier released by the defeated Rivers APC Governorship Candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside. While groups can partner to circulate propaganda, the facts remain that a centre of electoral fraud and malpractice cannot be allowed to unleash mayhem on Rivers people without being checked.”