The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has called on prominent Rivers indigenes and Nigerians to stop de-marketing the state.
Speaking during the commissioning of the Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal, Omagwa, yesterday, by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Rivers State governor said that it was in the best interest of the entire South-South region for investments to flow into Rivers State.
He said: “I urge all of us who are from Rivers State and others from Nigeria to market Rivers State and not de-market it.
“With this, people will come and invest in the state. Other airlines will also operate from this airport”.
Wike said that Rivers State was safe and secure for investments, hence, the execution of key projects without hitches.
He said: “What has happened today showcases the fact that Rivers State is safe, Rivers State is secure for people to invest.
“If Rivers State is not safe, CCECC will not complete this project”, Wike added.
The governor stated that the people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta were happy with the completion of the Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal.
“What you are doing today will boost Rivers economy and create investment opportunities”, he said.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to complete the domestic terminal of the Port Harcourt International Airport in line with his pledge.
Wike approved the construction of the five kilometres transit road into the International Airport Terminal vicinity.
Commissioning the Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal, President Muhammadu Buhari said that it represents a significant landmark for international air travellers, particularly those from Rivers State.
Buhari said that since the 1970s and early 1980s, not much was done to increase passenger handling capacity of the nation’s airports.
The terminal was built by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company Nigeria Limited as part of the $500million concessional loan from the Export–Import Bank of China.
Buhari landed about 12.30 pm and was driven in a convoy to the location of the new terminal.
Speaking at the ceremony, Buhari said the Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal would play a significant role in promoting economic prosperity of Rivers State.
He said the new terminal would increase passenger growth as well as facilitate the movement of cargo.
Buhari said the facility would bring the airport to international standard to create economic growth for Rivers State as well as the country.
He said the concession of four international airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt will improve infrastructure in Nigeria.
He said the construction of new terminals would be linked to the Warri Rail Line.
Buhari said government is making deliberate efforts to increase handling capacities and infrastructure of the nation’s transport sector which was not taken care of since the 70s and 80s when they were built.
He said it was part of his promises to upgrade Nigeria’s transport infrastructure in all geo political zones of the country.
The president said:” Today’s commissioning is a significant landmark for international travellers especially those in the South-South region.
“Not much was done after these airports were built in the 70s and 80s to increase handling capacity of the airports and so we needed to take decisive steps to ensure that our terminals meet the minimum international global standards.
“In the 2017 budget, I promised to upgrade Nigeria’s transport and complete a number projects that will be beneficiary to the nation economically and these include construction of new terminals, railways and power projects.
“Today’s commissioning is a direct policy to sustain economic growth in all geo political zones of the country,” the president said.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hon Hadi Sirika said the project commenced in 2014 and was inherited from the previous administration at 30 per cent completion in 2015.
He said despite the inherent challenges associated with the project, Buhari gave approval for the lapses to be corrected.
Sirika listed the challenges to include: inadequate power supply, litigation, lack of apron space which have been addressed.
He said that seven million passengers would be processed annually at the Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal, a figure which he noted, was 15 times higher than the air-passenger traffic capacity of Ghana.
Sirika said that the Buhari administration inherited the project at about 30 per cent completion stage.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has been commended over the completion of the Port Harcourt Airport terminal and its inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday.
The terminal building which is 25, 163 square meters was built by Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited.
The contract was signed on December 3, 2012 at a cost of $111,168,752. Work began on the project on March 1, 2014.
It was learnt that 85 per cent of contract sum came from Export-Import Bank of China as concessional loan while 15 per cent of the sum came as counterpart fund from the Federal Government.
The project was stalled, until Buhari directed that it must be completed.
The main work in the contract included a two storey terminal building, the cargo terminal, the apron, external and other ancillary works.
In his remarks, the Nyeweli Omagwa, King Achimele Amadi, commended the Federal Government for the smooth completion of the new terminal.
“I have been on the throne for four years now and this is the first time I have seen the presence of the Federal Government in terms of project”, he said.
“This project is a welcome development as it would boost economy and employment in my domain.”
An airport user, Mrs Gloria Aku commended the government for the completion of the terminal building, saying that total completion of the airport would be a great achievement.
“You cannot overemphasise the importance a befitting and functional airport in the economy of any nation; airport boosts tourism,” she said.
Another user of the airport, Mr Michael Dowe expressed happiness about the completion of the terminal.
An overview of facilities at the airport shows total completion of the main concourse, escalator, the checking counter and others.
The inauguration was marked by the heavy presence of security agents, traditional rulers and politicians.
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was absent at the commissioning of the new International Wing at the Port Harcourt Airport, yesterday.
Amaechi, who is the Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State was conspicuously missing at the event.
Pictures circulated in the social media, however, indicated that Amaechi was in Ibadan attending a Town Hall meeting organised by the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, President Mohammadu Buhari was received by Rivers state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike in company of other leaders of the People’s Democratic Party in Rivers State.
All Rivers State senators, including Andrew Uchendu, Magnus Abe, Osi Ideozu as well as the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside led other APC leaders to welcome Buhari.
According to the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) brochure for the commissioning exercise, “The New Port Harcourt Airport Terminal building is built by CCECC Nigeria Ltd.
“The contract sum of the project is $111, 168, 752, 55; 85 per cent of the contract sum came from Export-Import Bank of China as a concessional loan, while 15 per cent of the amount came as counterpart funding from the government of Nigeria.
“The contract was signed on December 3, 2012, but large scale construction commenced on March 1, 2014”.
PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms
Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.
Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.
Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.
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