Combat-ready governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has joined the festering fray between Akwa Ibom-born minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, and Rivers-born Joi Nunieh, immediate past acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio unilaterally removed Nunieh from the NDDC and replaced her with Bayelsa-born Daniel Pondei, a professor of virology from the Niger Delta University (NDU), but Nunieh has bounced back to lay damaging allegations against the minister at the National Assembly and in television interviews.
These have led to calls for either the removal of the minister or shutdown of the NDDC, but the minister has questioned the stability of character of the woman and defended himself saying he did not do any wrong.
To make the accusations stick, Nunieh, daughter of first Ogoni lawyer, revealed how she slapped the minister at a guest house in Abuja to rebuff his advances on her.
Fearing that the dispute may lead to harm, Governor Wike has issued stern warning against any thought of harming Nunieh.
Akpabio was a top People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader alongside Wike before he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement in Port Harcourt Tuesday, the Rivers State government said it has viewed with concern the recent developments at the NDDC into which the name of their daughter, Joi Nunieh, has been dragged.
The statement signed by the Commissioner of Information and Communications, Paulinus Msirim, said: “We hereby call on those involved in the ongoing investigations in the NDDC to ensure that Dr. Joi Nunieh does not suffer any harm in the course of their undertakings.
”We wish to state categorically that the Rivers State Government will never support any action that will prevent or jeopardize the laudable intentions of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to positively reposition the NDDC and fulfill the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta.
”However, we wish to state that while we are not interested in identifying with the present unfolding drama in the NDDC, we will not however fail to protect our daughter from actual harm or perceived danger.
”The State owes it as a duty to protect her citizens from danger no matter their political affiliation and we cannot fold our hands and watch anyone harm her or indeed any Rivers citizen. We advise those involved in the present altercations in the NDDC to thread with caution in their actions and utterances.”
Reactions are trailing the warning as some say the ball is in the court of the Akwa Ibom State government to declare security support to their own son, Akpabio. Many observe that Nunieh, the Rivers daughter, has an Akwa Ibom top aide, showing that when the going was good, states did not matter.