Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government must as a matter of urgency release funds for tackling issues of environmental degradation and security in the Niger Delta.
Wike said while he would not condemn the release of $1billion to tackle Boko Haram, the environmental and security challenges in the Niger Delta far outweigh the Boko Haram conflict.
The governor spoke during the Annual General Meeting of Okpo Club of Nigeria (Association of Ikwerre Lawyers) on Saturday in Port Harcourt.
He requested the APC-led federal government to release the derivation component of the excess crude to the oil producing states of the Niger Delta.
He said: "Niger Delta environmental problems are as serious as the Boko Haram Insurgency. I am not saying that you should not fight Boko Haram.
"If you can get funds from the National Pool to tackle Boko Haram, then you should go to the pool to get funds to fight environmental problems in Ogoni and other Niger Delta communities."
Commenting on politics in Rivers State, Wike urged all ethnic nationalities to work together to fast track development in the state.
He said no ethnic nationality in the state can succeed without others, hence the need for greater cooperation at all levels.
The governor also called on the people of the state to always work for relevance in the political terrain of the country as that is the only way the state can attract development.
Former NBA President, Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN), commended Wike for his commitment to the development of the state.
He assured him of the support of Ikwerre Lawyers as he works for the people of Rivers State.
Chairman of Okpo Club of Nigeria, Mr. Chukwuma Chinwo, said the club would continue to mobilise Ikwerre Lawyers for the development of the area.
Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, said the Association of Ikwerre Lawyers has grown over the years to become a catalyst for development.