The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has expressed optimism that the state’s $12million (approximately N4,572,122,640.00) cassava processing initiative would create thousands of jobs in the state, and enhance the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
The governor urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to support the initiative to boost food security, create jobs and earn foreign exchange for the country.
Wike said this during a meeting with the board of the Rivers Cassava Processing Company Limited at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He explained that the state government ought to enjoy the support of the CBN in its endeavour to boost food production and reduce importation of cassava products, particularly processed starch into the country.
According to him, if the Rivers Cassava Processing Company is encouraged, the country’s dependence on imported cassava products would drastically reduce.
The governor regretted that the CBN has failed to accede to Rivers State Government’s request for N5billion to boost the agriculture sector in the state.
He noted that if part of the N5billion was invested in the Rivers cassava processing initiative, it would create jobs and reduce the unemployment rate.
He suggested that the state government’s 70 per cent equity in the company should be divested to encourage private sector participation and minimise government’s interference in the affairs of the company.
In his remarks, the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Fred Kpakol, explained that the multi-million Dollar cassava processing plant located at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area, has the capacity to process 45,000 metric tons of cassava tuber to produce 12,500 metric tons of high quality cassava flour.
Kpakol said that the plant would create over 3,000 jobs, adding that in the medium term, the company would add starch to its products as well as glucose in the future.
Speaking, the Managing Director of the company, Reuben Giesen, said the facility would run on environment-friendly power supply from the Rivers State Independent Power Plant in Afam, thus, setting the pace for industrialisation of the area.
Giesen said that the state government and its partners, the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria and the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), have keyed into the cassava production policy of the Federal Government.
The External Relations Manager of SPDC, Mr Igo Wali, explained that Shell has already invested $3.6million into the project as a mark of its commitment to boost food security and enhance job creation in the state.
Residents Excited As Wike Commissions Okoro-Nu-Odo, Rumuogba Flyovers
There have been jubilation in parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas following the commissioning of the Okoro-Nu-Odo flyover bridge, today, and Rumuogba flyover bridge, tomorrow, respectively by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
It would be recalled that the entire stretch of Rumuokoro from the Federal Government College to Rumuodomaya Police Station was closed to traffic following the construction of the Okoro-Nu-Odo flyover, while at the Rumuogba section, traffic was diverted from Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway to Old Aba Road through Woji to Rumuibekwe by Shell RA.
The two projects are to be commissioned on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
A cross section of stakeholders comprising of traditional rulers and other opinion leaders told The Tide in an interview that the era of incessant gridlock along the two highways were over.
They also said the projects would boost businesses as the flyover bridges, which criss-cross communities, would facilitate the movement of persons and goods in the state.
The Paramount Ruler of Woji Community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, described the completion of the flyover bridges as a promise kept.
Ihunwo said Governor Nyesom Wike has shown that he is a true leader of the people, stressing that the governor has added value to the lives of Rivers people in every area of human endeavour.
“I thank God for giving us a good leader at this time in the history of Rivers State.
“God, in His infinite mercy gave us Chief Nyesom Wike and he has transformed the entire Rivers State”.
Ihunwo said Wike’s vision of restoring the Garden City status of Port Harcourt has been achieved with the completion of the projects.
Also speaking, Eze G.N. Chukwumgba of Rumuorolo community, said what the governor has done was to eternally decongest traffic on roads in Port Harcourt.
“The flyover is a good thing. It will ensure free movement of persons, it will also boost business”.
Chukwumgba also called on neigbouring states to emulate the giant strides of Governor Nyesom Wike in infrastructural development.
Also speaking, Eze Ken Onuoha Iwezor of Mgbuesilaru said Governor Nyesom Wike has fulfilled more than 90 per cent of his campaign promises to Rivers people.
Iwezor said the project has improved the aesthetic condition of both Rumuogba and Mgbuesilaru communities.
On her part, Mrs Christie Iwezor said commercial activities would be boosted as the Rumuogba flyover was not far from the popular Oil Mill Market.
Iwezor said the situation would improve the economic fortunes of women as it would help in the movement of goods from bush markets to the city centre for sale.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Rumuogba Community Development Committee (CDC), Chief-Elect Wogu Chikaola, said the Rumuogba flyover bridge was already checking the activities of hoodlums as the whole place has been illuminated.
Chikaola said his people were grateful to Governor Nyesom Wike for keeping his promise of decongesting traffic from the former Artillery Junction.
Also speaking, an indigene of Rukpakulusi community, Mr Charles Obilor, said, at least, the stress of people moving long distances in gridlocks would be reduced.
“I am happy that the stress of trekking long distances because traffic jams will stop”.
Obilor said, despite the problem encountered by the people during the construction, the flyover bridges were good for the area.
“It is our own flyover; it is good for our people.
Also speaking, Mrs Stella Okocha from Rumuokoro, said full commercial activities would be restored at the Okoro-Nu-Odo area.
Okocha said the flyover bridge would check the heavy vehicular traffic usually experienced in the area.
On her part, Mrs Lizzy Obilor of Rukpakulusi said she was happy that the project was being commissioned, adding that no matter the sufferings, the project would stand the test of time.
A commercial driver, Bestman, said businesses would boom in the area.
Similarly, John Akaninwo from Etche, who resides at Rumuokoro, said the commissioning would bring back business activities in the area.
Flyovers, Others Ready For Inauguration, RSG Assures
The Rivers State Government says all is now set for the inauguration of the gigantic Okoro-Nu-Odo and Rumuogba 1 and 2 flyover projects, amongst others, billed to take place from today.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, gave the assurance in a media interview in Port Harcourt, last Friday, during an assessment tour of the level of readiness of the two landmark projects for commissioning.
Nsirim advised Rivers people to join hands with Governor Nyesom Wike, to develop the state.
“He means well. He has demonstrated in his words and actions, in the prudent management of scarce resources in this era that he means well for Rivers people,” he said.
“You can see that all the projects we have visited are fully completed, and ready for the scheduled dates of commissioning. You also can see the quality of work that has been done by Julius Berger. This is what you find in a government that is visionary.
“The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, in his NEW Vision blueprint, has envisioned a state where basic infrastructure will not be lacking. So, within the last five and half years, he has demonstrated that commitment to ensure that Rivers State becomes the investor’s destination choice, and from what you have seen as we are going round these projects, you can see that vision becoming a reality across the length and breathe of the state,” Nsirim told the media.
He said that what would be found in the character of the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike was the commitment to his promise not to award contracts that would be abandoned.
“Every contract is matched with the requisite funds for execution and implementation. So, the speed, the quality that you have found in the ones we have visited, is the same thing that will happen in the ones that will be flagged-off in the next few days because Governor Nyesom Wike, of course, he was first named ‘Mr. Project’ but when people saw the quality of projects that are being executed, he has now been nicknamed ‘Mr. Quality Project’.
“So, everything that has to do with Rivers State under Governor Nyesom Wike, you can be rest assured, will be quality projects, and they will be delivered on schedule. And what is more interesting in what is happening in Rivers State now is that a lot of states are hiding under the guise that there is Covid-19, and nothing is happening in those states.
“That’s why, not just because I am his Information and Communications Commissioner, I am quite pleased to be associated with Governor Nyesom Wike because he is a man of his words, and he has promised Rivers people: ‘I will not abandon any project.’ You don’t find it amongst politicians,” he said.
Zamfara Police Confirm 317 School Girls Abducted
The Zamfara State Police Command have confirmed that bandits early Friday morning, abducted a total of 317 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe.
Earlier reports had indicated that 300 students of the school, were abducted.
However, the Police Command in the state, through a statement by its spokesperson, SP Mohammed Shehu, and made available to newsmen on Friday, said 317 students were abducted.
According to him, security agencies, including the army and police, had collaborated in joint search for the students.
“The Zamfara Police Command, in collaboration with the military, have commenced a joint search and rescue operations with a view to rescuing the 317 students kidnapped by the armed bandits in Government Girls Science Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area on February 26, 2021 at about 0100 hours.
“The Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro; the Force Commander of Operations Hadarin Daji, Major General Aminu Bande; Brigade Commander, 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Gusau, and other state government officials, led a heavily armed reinforcement team to Jangebe to complement the ongoing rescue operation in the locations where the students were believed to be taken to,” the statement reads.
Yaro urged the principal of the school and the parents to remain “calm as joint efforts of the police and other security agencies will assurely led to the successful rescue of the students.”
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