2nd December, 2013
Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has called on the House of Representatives to summon the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of Water Resources, Stella Ochekpe and investigate the circumstances surrounding the seizure of the World Bank and African Development Bank (ADB) loans approved by the National Assembly for the provision of potable drinking water to the people of Rivers State.
Amaechi spoke Monday when the House Committee on Water Resources accompanied by Executive Directors of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority paid him a courtesy visit at Government House in Port Harcourt.
He said the Rivers State Government has fulfilled all requirements to receive and benefit from the loan scheme with the World Bank and ADB, saying that his administration was ready to allow the Minister of Finance award the contract to any person of her choice to provide potable drinking water for the citizenry in the state.
According to him, “the people who are dying and deprived of the potable drinking water are Rivers people who don’t have water in their homes.”
“It is embarrassing; completely embarrassing for somebody who has been Managing Director of World Bank to neglect the impact water has on the citizenry. We are prepared to allow the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) to award the contract to any person she wants to. We are only interested in the provision of potable drinking water for our people.”
He complained that the National Assembly has approved it, and the state has fulfilled all requirements with the World Bank and African Development Bank (ADB), and the state is at the point of release of the funds for execution of the water projects in the state but Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has refused to allow the release of the funds to us”, Amaechi said.
The State Chief Executive also explained the inherent danger and implications behind the seizure of the funds by the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala against the welfare and living standard of Rivers people.
“The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is using her position to undermine the safety and health of the people of Rivers State.I can’t afford to give all Rivers people bottled water, but all I can assure you is to ensure the provision of potable drinking water and the Minister of Finance has refused to release it and I think, I should put that before you (House Committee on Water Resources). They want Rivers people to die. We can do an assessment of people who have been infected of water borne diseases if she wants to do that, so she can see what she is doing to Rivers people”, Amaechi noted.
Earlier, Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources in the House of Representatives, Hon. Aliyu Ahman Pategi said the Committee is in the state as part of its over-sight functions to verify the execution of various water projects of House members and Senators and to ensure there was value for money in the nooks and crannies where every project is sited.
He also said, “this is the reason we are here to ensure that the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA )that is charged with the responsibility in ensuring the zonal intervention of projects of House members and Senators are carried out not only in the best possible manner, but to ensure that the projects are not abandoned, and are beneficial to our people” Hon. Aliyu said.
While also appreciating the good people of Rivers State for their loyalty and commitment to the Amaechi led government in the state, Aliyu commended Governor Amaechi on the giant strides and remarkable achievements of his administration in the provision of world class infrastructures and speedy development in the state.
“I wish to also extend my hand of fellowship with the good people of Rivers State. Despite these challenges, our coming to Rivers State have noticed quite a remarkable projects. We saw the monorail projects for instance, the dual carriage system, which can only be found in Abuja. I am proud of such projects in Rivers State”, Aliyu said.