The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has signed into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill and promised that it will be implemented in providing basic infrastructure for the good of the state.
Signing the 2021 Budget at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said his administration is working assiduously to sustain the tempo of development that has continued to stand the state out in the federation.
He assured those who have wondered why the on-going projects in their local government areas were not mentioned when he presented the budget to the state House of Assembly that such projects are already captured as special projects and will be completed.
“So many people have asked why there are no projects in their area. We could not have, in our budget speech, named all the projects. But within the budget, there are many projects and those that cannot be named; we have to put them under special projects.
“Everybody should be rest assured that no local government will be left out as long as the implementation of this budget is concerned. What is important is that we will do all we can to make sure that this Appropriation Law is fully implemented, particularly as regards basic infrastructure that we are supposed to provide for our people.”
Wike said infrastructural revolution in the state was already appreciated across party divide, particularly with comments from the Chairman of Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero.
“Today, when we went for the 26th meeting of National Council on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero, said he wants to tell other states to emulate what’s going on in Rivers State.
“He said that as they were coming, they were so satisfied with what they have seen and the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said he does not want to talk about the development in the state so that I will not play politics with it. People are seeing the good works we are doing.”
The governor commended members of the state House of Assembly for the expeditious passage of the bill into law, which indicates their love for the continued development of the state.
“It is not easy to pass these bills into laws in such a short time and I want to commend your efforts. If you’re not interested in the development of the state it will not have been possible.
“We have always said that it is not only for the Executive to see that the state moves forward, it is also for the Legislature and Judiciary. We are lucky that our in state that the arms of government are working very closely, and doing their own work.
“People should talk about how Rivers State will move forward. I’ve told anybody to challenge us, and tell me one local government where there is no state government project. Let us work together and you’ll see our state will be a different state.”
In presenting the bill for signing, the leader of the House, Hon. Martins Amaewhule, said the assembly gave speedy attention to the bills because they will further make life better for Rivers people when implemented.
The Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani assured that the assembly will continue perform its function to complement efforts of the Executive in providing secure state for the people.
The bills signed into law include: Rivers State Appropriation Law No. 25 of 2020; Rivers State Dehumanising and Harmful Traditional Practices (Abortion) (Amendment) Law No. 11 of 2019; Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (Amendment) Law No. 24 of 2020; Rivers State Security Trust Fund Law No. 6 of 2020; the Port Harcourt Polytechnic (Amendment) Law No. 13 of 2019; Rivers State Audit Law No. 2 of 2020; Rivers State Violence No 4 of 2020; and Rivers State Female Circumcision (Abolition) (Amendment) No. No 9 of 2019.
Earlier, the Rivers State House of Assembly had approved the state budget after the different House Committees submitted their reports.
The sum of N448, 660, 773, 476 was approved by the House.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said the House scrutinised the budget in line with World Bank recommendations within two weeks.
He commended the lawmakers for their dedication, as he expressed the hope that the budget would transform the lives of the citizenry.
Christened, “Budget of Recovery and Consolidation”, the budget is made up of N305,894,284.061, as Capital Expenditure, while N142,776,489,415 is earmarked as Recurrent Expenditure.
The Rivers State Chief Executive noted that the 2021 budget represented more than 20 per cent increase over the 2020 Revised Budget.
According to him, the sum of N82,957,295,248.81, has been provided for the provision of infrastructure, including roads, bridges and completion of flyover projects at Okoro-nu-Odo, Rumuola, Rumuogba, and Port Harcourt GRA Junction.
He also assured that his administration would deliver the Ogoni- Andoni-Opobo Unity Road, the Eastern Bypass Dualisation, 6th and 7th flyover projects and the Wakama Road as well as all other ongoing rural road projects in the communities and local government areas across the state.
He regretted that economic challenges of Covid-19 pandemic clearly exposed the state’s vulnerability to food security, hence the sum of N16,107,080,000.00 would be spent on targeted investment in the agriculture value chain in a bid to create employment and enhance collective food security of the state.
Wike noted that the policy thrust for 2021 budget will be to accelerate economic recovery, drive growth and create opportunities for social progress, human capital development and tackle poverty, build first class infrastructures to accelerate our socio-economic development.
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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