The Federal Government has assured the Government and people of Rivers State that it would effect a refund of monies expended on federal projects in the state.
Addressing journalists after embarking on the verification of federal road projects executed by the Rivers State Government on behalf of the Federal Government, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would always abide by set rules.
Nwajiuba said: “The Federal Government has always cooperated with the people of Rivers State. Rivers State is the strongest economic base of the country, and anything that the Federal Government will do for the Government and people of Rivers State, the Federal Government will respond accordingly.
“The President is a stickler for the rules. We have addressed this everywhere, except for five states, that we are now verifying. No state has had an issue,” the minister stated.
The minister said that the Rivers State Government, over the years, did a splendid work in the construction of key projects in the state.
“Terrific work has been done by the Government and people of Rivers State on behalf of the Federal Government. The governor has taken us on extensive review of more than six projects that we came to inspect,” he said.
He expressed happiness with the tour of Federal Road Projects executed by the Rivers State Government.
He said: “I am glad we took time out to go and see all of them and verify them physically. We are really sure that the state government has done what is right.”
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had led the Federal Executive Council Verification Team on a tour of listed projects in the state.
In an interview with journalists after the Joint Verification Exercise, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said he was confident that the Federal Government would effect a refund.
He said: “The minister has come with his team, and I believe they will refund us the funds expended on the roads.
“We have made submissions for refund, but we are yet to receive any refund from the Federal Government. I believe this last verification will come to fruition. I have confidence that they will refund us the money expended on federal projects.”
Wike said if the Federal Government fails to effect the refund as promised, the Rivers State Government would raise an alarm.
“If they don’t refund, we will raise alarm, and tell the world to help us ask why we are being denied the refund.
“Now, we are talking of governance and we need these funds to do more projects for our people. He has given us assurance that the Federal Government will effect a refund this time around”, Wike added.
The tour commenced at the over 41.26-kilometre dualisation of the Airport-Isiokpo-Elele-Omerelu Road, the reconstruction of Ikwerre Road from Education to Agip flyover junction, construction of flyover at Agip-Rumueme-Abacha roundabout and the construction of flyover on East-West Road at Obiri-Ikwerre with rotary turning and service lanes.
The verification team also visited the construction of Eleme junction flyover and interchange and the construction of phases one and two of Ada-George Road.
Wike also led the team on an inspection of the Rebisi, Rumuogba and Okoro-Nu-Odu flyover bridges under construction by the Rivers State Government at Garrison, Artillery and Rumuokoro junctions in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas, respectively.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had stated that he was hopeful that the Federal Government would refund state resources used to execute federal projects in the state.
Wike said that his optimism stems from the fact that the Federal Executive Council has sent a verification team to the state in respect of federal projects.
He spoke, yesterday, during a courtesy visit by the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He said: “I thank the Federal Government for at least coming to verify our claims. We submitted our claims, while some other states have been paid. But we are hopeful.
“We have been submitting several documents on the issue of projects that were executed by the Rivers State Government for the Federal Government. We believe that by this verification visit, we will get paid”.
He said most of the federal projects in question were executed by Dr Peter Odili and the immediate past administration of Chibuike Amaechi in the state.
He said that if the state gets the said funds, they would be channelled towards other developmental projects in the state.
Wike said that the country must move together in unity, because certain issues transcend politics.
In his response, the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, explained that the team was in the state in respect of the federal projects verification exercise approved by the Federal Executive Council.
He said that the team would assess and verify projects that the Rivers State Government completed on behalf of the Federal Government and report back to the Federal Executive Council.
He noted that the Federal Executive Council raised the committee following official demands by the Rivers State Government on federal projects executed by the state.
The minister said that the verification team would work with the Rivers State Government to verify the claims.
COVID-19: Hand Washing Cheapest Way Of Fighting Diseases – Health Commissioner
COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents
The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.
Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.
“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.
“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.
“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.
“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.
“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.
Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than
30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.
“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.
“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.
The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.
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