The Rivers State Government has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the deeply failed portions of the East-West Road, especially the Akpajo-Eleme axis which has completely broken down and constituting death trap and huge embarrassment to Nigeria.
This call was made last Monday in Port Harcourt in a statement issued by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah.
According to Okah, the East-West Road belongs to the Federal Government and the Akpajo-Eleme axis leads directly to critical economic infrastructure like the Oil and Gas Free Zone, Onne, Indorama Petrochemical and Fertilizer Companies, Port Harcourt Refinery, Eleme, Notore Fertiliser Company, among others.
“But sadly, while other federal roads in the country are receiving fair attention of the Federal Government, the East-West Road has remained neglected, abandoned and left to further deteriorate”, he lamented.
Okah further said that it was for the reason of acute dilapidation of the road that the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration, together with some stakeholders, made huge contributions to stabilise the portion of the road with the expectation that the Federal Government will take a cue from there.
He regretted that “unfortunately, and as it has been our lot in this administration, the Federal Government neither appreciated these patriotic efforts and sacrifices of the state government and the other contributors nor repaired the road.
“The East-West Road has become a source of anguish to the people of Rivers State, and our lamentations have only fallen on deaf ears,” Okah said.
The commissioner noted that the deep decay of the road has resulted in huge loss of man-hour, accidents involving trucks and attendant loss of property and human lives which could have been avoided by repairing this axis of the road, hoping that this insensitivity on the part of the Federal Government of Nigeria will end soon.
“For the records, the East-West Road is the most economically strategic road in the Niger Delta region,” Okah reminded the Federal Government.
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Mentor Youth On Leadership, Banigo Tells Ex-Councillors …Says We’ll Immunise Every Rivers Child
The Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has urged members of the National Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ex-Councillors Forum to mentor the youth as a way of curbing youth restiveness.
The deputy governor stated this during a meeting with members of the Degema Local Government Chapter of the National PDP Ex-Councillors Forum at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
According her, “Use your positions as ex councillors to mentor and put these young people under your tutelage, let them know they have a bright future and refrain from social vices like, pipeline vandalism, oil theft, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, cultism and gangsteriseem”.
Banigo said politics is about serving the people selflessly, stressing that the Governor Nyesom Wike-led government was making concerted efforts in the face of scarce resources to deliver on its campaign promises to the Rivers people.
She said gone are the days when politicians come to make bogus promises to the people without fulfilling them, noting that in 2019, political parties seeking for positions must present their score card.
“Nigerians and indeed the Rivers people are wiser, votes will count in 2019, let all eligible voters arm themselves with their voter’s card, no amount of intimidation or federal might can thwart the will of the Rivers people”, Banigo said.
In their remarks, the forums Co-ordinator in DELGA, Hon. Victor Origbenba and Secretary, Hon. Ngo Bob-manuel promised to mentor the youth and mobilise the entire citizenry to support the Wike-led government.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo says the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration is poised to ensure that every Rivers child receives immunization.
In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt, Banigo said since inception, the present administration has continued to demonstrate leadership in the country, not only in polio eradication but primary health care in its entire ramification.
She said it was shameful that Nigeria was amongst polio endemic countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, stressing that the Rivers State Government was committed to ensure the success of the Sub-National Immunization Plus Days as well as Local Immunization Days campaigns.
“Immunization is the right of every child and we are poised to ensure that no matter how remote or hard to reach the location of a child is, the child’s right to free immunization is guaranteed in Rivers State. Our indices have shown a remarkable improvement in our routine immunization coverage”, Banigo noted.
The deputy governor, who is the chairman of the State Task Force on Immunization, said the next quarterly meeting of the task force will hold on October 9, at Government House as part of deliberate efforts to sustain the gains so far made and also plan for the forthcoming Sub-National Immunization Plus Days Campaign.
It would be recalled that the State Task Force on Immunization is the highest policy making body on immunization in the state and is headed by the deputy governors of the 36 states of the federation.
Rivers Under-Represented In MDAs, FCC Laments
Rivers State is one of the top states that has the least representations in the federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, The Tide has gathered.
Currently, the state has about 2.2 per cent of positions and employment at the federal level as against 3 per cent as recommended by the law.
The state, alongside Bayelsa, had its highest peak between 2011 – 2013 during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, when indigenes from the area had the employment quota almost filled, and amply engaged in federal agencies and ministries.
The Tide learnt that the situation may be worse with the multinational and private companies whose employment policies are not regulated by the Act establishing Federal Character Principle.
The state Coordinator of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Mr. Owonaro Bolou Henry told The Tide that the commission has commence, sensitisation on some agencies on why federal character should be reflected in their employment policies and programmes.
According to him, the law provides that any employment from levels 01-06 should give 75 per cent to host communities or indigenes.
Asked whether federal agencies operating in the state enforce the commission’s law on low cadre jobs, Owonaro said, “They do because we try as much as we can to monitor them”.
The FCC state coordinator revealed that the state loses most of its positions at the federal level because the indigenes refuse to take appointments outside the state.
Besides that, he revealed that people from neighbouring states snatch positions meant for Rivers people through the guise of impersonation and influence from highly placed persons.
Explaining further, he noted, “If the law says that Rivers State has 10 positions and unfortunately they can only provide three, the other seven positions will be thrown open to other states”.
For now, he maintained that Rivers and Bayelsa States are under-represented as two key officials who were represented in the FCC had retired and another resigned.
Owonaro promised that defaulting ministries, parastatals, state government and local councils which fail to adhere to the Principle of Federal Character will sued to court, as he decried poor funds as a major challenge to raise awareness and training of personnel.
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