Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has taken the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on a site tour in a bid to clear the Rivers State Government of allegation of demolishing the Trans-Amadi Central Mosque in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike has been widely criticised of demolishing the Central Mosque in Port Harcourt, despite coming to deny the alleged demolition of any Mosque.
Governor Fayemi, who addressed reporters after a joint assessment of the disputed land with Governor Wike yesterday, described the controversy as a storm in a teacup as he could not see any evidence that a building existed on the disputed land.
“With what I have seen here, I cannot see any evidence of any building that was demolished. If you are somebody who wants a place of worship, you should find a way to oblige them. I know within your capacity it will be possible to find a place for them.
“From what I have seen here, I think it is a storm in a tea Cup. There is nothing to warrant this kind of media hype that has been given to it.”
Fayemi said his assessment visit was necessitated by a call to Wike after the controversy on the land broke out.
According to him, he called Wike when the controversy started and he (Wike) emphasised that no Mosque was demolished. He noted that the Rivers State Governor explained that the dispute began during the Amaechi administration though it was already in court.
“If they cannot have this place that is contention and they have gone to court and you have respected their right to go to court, if they want to come back and seek a request to have another place, I plead that His Excellency should oblige them.
“You cannot allow people to build on a sewer. Even in my state I will not allow people to build on a sewer . There is no Governor that I know that will allow that to happen. If they are willing and prepared to have their place of worship elsewhere, that shouldn’t be too much of a request. It is important for us to promote harmony, rather than discord”, Fayemi added.
On his part, Governor Wike thanked Fayemi for exhibiting leadership by visiting the state to see things for himself.
According to him, Fayemi’s visit has confirmed that no Mosque was demolished as was wrongly reported. Wike said:
“I thank the Chairman of my forum for coming to see things for himself. He called me and I said you know I can’t do something like that. He promised to come see me and he has fulfilled that promise; that shows leadership.
“From what he has seen, there was no Mosque here. There is no way I will see a Mosque and order the Ministry of Urban Development to demolish it. Assuming there was a Mosque and government doesn’t want it there, we will tell them to look for alternatives. But there was no Mosque here. I don’t know why people should make politics out of the issue; it’s not important.”
Wike also advised those chastising him for demolishing a “non-existent mosque” to verify any story before jumping to conclusion.
“I have nothing against Islam or any faith for that matter and as you can see there was never a mosque on this ground instead it is a sewage site which has been in contention between the state government and some groups because they want to develop on prohibited land”, he said.
Wike promised the state’s readiness to provide an alternative place to the Muslim Community if they desire it. He urged the people not to create discord among the religions as they worship the same God.