Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration has proven that through budgetary integrity, commitment and prudence nothing was too difficult to achieve in governance for Nigerians.
Wike spoke at the inauguration of the 72-bed Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt, performed by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, last Monday.
The governor noted that seamlessly, his administration delivered the centre within agreed timeline of 14 months for the good of Rivers people and Nigerians at large.
He noted that one of the reasons why the Federal Government projects take years to accomplish was because the National Assembly often allocate paltry funds to projects earmarked for execution every fiscal year when it knows that such funds were grossly inadequate to achieve any meaningful milestone.
Wike stated that such practice has continued to encourage the abandonment of projects, and promoted inadequacy in terms of governance, project delivery and public service.
“For a project that will cost N26billion; you are putting N500milion in the budget for one year. Then, it will now take you more than 20 years to achieve it. By then, the cost will move up from N26billion to one hundred and something billion Naira.
“That is why you see in this country abandonment of projects. If we are serious in this country to say that we will get the best, I can tell you that it is not impossible.”
Wike stressed that the Rivers people deserves the best, which, is why the best quality has been delivered at the centre, similar to the best quality delivered on all other projects.
He mocked those who said they had set out to build the Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital that never came to limelight despite the huge fund put in that venture.
Wike explained that already, there was partnership arrangement going on based on the strength of the understanding brokered with the United States Consul General, Mr Will Stevens.
The governor said Stevens had visited the hospital, and was currently making contacts with people who know how best to run hospitals profitably, which would be considered to take over the operations of the centre.
He also explained that the facility was named after Dr. Peter Odili because he was one Rivers leader who had operated one of the best clinics in the state, served as governor meritoriously, and now contributing to medical education in the state.
The governor expressed joy over the accomplishment of the centre, and stated that it stands as a report card and evidence of fulfilment of promise made to Rivers people.
Performing the inauguration of the project, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, said it was pertinent to commend the sagacity and foresight of Wike for initiating and actualising such novel project.
He noted that the centre, which was the very first of its kind in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole, would surely benefit people beyond the boundaries of the South-South region.
“The dreaded disease of cancer and its devastating effect on its victim cannot be overemphasised. It does not only destroy its victims and their families emotionally, but renders them financially incapacitated.
“Consequently, cancer diagnosis and treatment can be said to be beyond the reach and affordability of the common man.
“So, with the commissioning of this centre, those afflicted with this disease and other oncological ailments can, at least, breathe a sigh of relief, here is succour at their doorsteps.”
He said that in the spirit of good neighbourliness and being brother’s keepers, patients from neighbouring states and even states as far as Kano will not be turned away from the God sent cancer relief centre.
According to him, there was no gainsaying that infrastructure of this magnitude are very difficult to maintain, and appealed for a positive paradigm shift in attitude towards maintenance culture.
“We call upon the incoming administration and the people of Rivers State to own this improved infrastructure by ensuring that this very vital centre is well equipped and maintained at all times.
“The facilities should regularly be upgraded to meet global standards. The staff should be trained, retrained and updated on latest medical technology and innovation.
He also noted that it is a well-known fact that due to the oil and gas exploration in Niger Delta, some of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) may not have utilised the best global practices in their exploration in the Niger Delta.
Such negligence, he said had thereby exposed residents of this region to diseases caused by gas flaring and oil pollution of the ecosystems and environment.
“It is not also out of place to appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria to borrow a leaf from the governor of River State and established similar centres in each of the geopolitical zones so as to alleviate the suffering of those with cancer and cardiovascular related issues.
“This is a good step towards saving our people from embarking on medical tourism, which benefits the economy of other countries at the detriment of ours, especially in these days of scarce and high foreign exchange rates.”
In his goodwill message, former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, said he and his family were delighted for the honour done to them with such centre named after him while he is alive.
Odili said Wike should have been a medical doctor because of the medical infrastructure he had provided in the state which were second to none in the history of Nigeria.
“Look at this edifice. The honourable commissioner for health has lectured us about the uniqueness of this centre. Everything he said about the centre is true, I fully support and endorse.
“The president of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has also spoken on it and I said that there is no medical facility in this country, built by a state government that has everything you have here. None can see your break light in your healthcare programme.
“The cancer centre that you have also introduced here, only three functions in the federal republic of Nigeria. This is one of the three. No other one belongs to state government; the other two belong to the Federal Government.”
In his speech, the NMA President, Dr.UcheOjinmah, noted with delight that Wike fixed the inauguration of the centre to coincide with the ongoing awareness campaign on cancer.
According to him, the administration of Wike has been bold in the provision of medical infrastructure that promotes public health and takes care of the patients.
In providing the description of the project, Commissioner for Health, Prof. PrincewillChike, said the centre among other features has three theatres, Catheterisation Laboratory, Radio Therapy, BrachyTherapy and nuclear medicine.
According to him, there was doctor’s quarters, helipad, modern incinerators, 1000, 1000 & 800 KVA in series to power the centre.
In his address, Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Barrister George Ariolu, described the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre as a benevolent donation to mankind.
Julius Berger Managing Director, Lars Richter, said the centre with its state-of-the-art medical equipment would boost medical tourism in Rivers State.
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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