Delta okays N400m for Sapele market, Okowa laments cost of pipeline vandalism
DELTA State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has said that N400 million has been released to the contractor handling the Sapele Market project to fast-track its completion.
He spoke when members of Ukoko R’Ivie R’Urhobo which is the umbrella body of government-recognised traditional rulers from Delta Central Senatorial District visited him at Government House, Asaba.
Okowa stated that allocation of completed units would be based on preference for the original traders in the market who had stores that were destroyed for the reconstruction.
He pledged close monitoring of the work to ensure its speedy completion.
The governor remarked: “It is an EXCO decision that the original store owners will be the first to be allocated stores to while the rest will be by ballot. If this agreement is not adhered to, it will be unfair and unjust to these owners, or is it because an original store owner does not have political clout, she cannot get a store? We believe in fairness and we must adhere to it. Due process must be followed in allocating the stores.”
Okowa disclosed that interviews for the empowerment programmes of his administration would commence next week and commended them for their roles during the collection and submission of forms by applicants.
He stated that the programmes would last for six months after which, another batch would be empowered, stressing that fairness, justice and equity would be the guiding principles of his administration.
Okowa also pointed out that allocations to the state from the Federation Account were always affected when crude oil from the state are lost due to pipeline vandalism.
He revealed that April this year, the state lost three million barrels of crude oil as a result of criminal attacks on pipelines, stressing that as such, revenue from its oil output was reduced.
The governor equally explained that the amendment bill for the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) which has passed through public hearing was to make the organisation more responsive in meeting the needs of oil-producing communities.
According to him, “we are not going to do anything in secrecy. In my inaugural speech, we made it clear that we will strengthen DESOPADEC along the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) pattern. We want to ensure that we have a structured management system that would not be based on ethnic sentiments. The Commissioners from different ethnic nationalities will be members of the Board where they will present issues concerning their ethnic nationalities while the management which is insulated from ethnic politics implements policies reached.
“I insisted on a public hearing so as to get the people’s views which will vastly enrich the bill before it is passed into law. It is left for the House of Assembly after listening to the public to take its own decision and pass a bill that will be in the best interest of Deltans. This I will assent to,” he assured.
On the rumoured closure of the Government House Annex, Warri, Okowa debunked the claim. According to him, the annex and Governor’s Lodge in Warri were undergoing renovation, observing that they remain very important for government activities.
On the suspended civil service recruitment, he explained that the process was faulty, stating that “1,300 persons were employed towards the end of the last administration with all sorts of scandal that led to the suspension of the Board. The process was wrong and as such, the end result cannot be right. I promise Deltans fairness and justice. I will try to do what is right and just. With the drop in the price of oil, the state cannot even pay its existing workers without overdraft; so, is it right to employ more people? We must take decision in the best interest of the state without sentiments for the general good of Deltans,” the governor stressed.
Earlier, the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom, HRM Ovie R. L. Ogbon, who is the chairman of Ukoko R’Ivie R’Urhobo, said they were at Government House to felicitate with Okowa on his electoral victory saying: “Our dear governor, your victory is a victory for all Deltans and we rejoice with you.
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