Former Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Barrister Emma Okah has called on the United Kingdom (UK) to withdraw the travel advisory warning her citizens not to travel to Rivers State. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office flagged Rivers and eleven other states in Nigeria as unsafe for travels.
The other states include Bornu, Yobe, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Delta, Cross River State, Zamfara and Adamawa.
In his reaction, Okah said the inclusion of Rivers State among several states bleeding from insecurity challenges is wrong, oppressive and does not reflect the true security position in Rivers State.
“No part of Nigeria or indeed the world is 100% safe but to group a safe state like Rivers with others under siege by devastating violence and damning security crisis or those torn into shreds by recurring incidents of bombings, killings, kidnappings, raping of women, etc is a wrong judgement not befitting Rivers State.”, Okah said, noting that if the UK is worried about security in Rivers State, what would it say regarding many states in the Northern part of Nigeria where bandits reign supreme?
Okah noted that there is peace in Rivers State compared to many others in Nigeria and the people are cooperating with the government to ensure that residents live and carry on their businesses in quietness and safety.
According to Okah, “when a government is doing well to address problems and positive results are visible, the minimum we owe that government is commendation and not condemnation and that is the way of progressive thinking.
“Rivers people know when there is security problem and also when there is peace. There is ample peace in Rivers State today and to be candid, the UK advisory is grossly misplaced. If Rivers State is not safe, the Nigeria Bar Association will not be coming to PH for the 2021 Annual Conference, night life will slow down or be disrupted and operating business will be closing shop”, he stressed.
Okah believes that the faulty UK travel advisory was issued in error and calls on the British Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson to quickly intervene and reverse the advisory against Rivers State so as not to scare the residents and business community.