Delta Sate Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has appealed to Deltans to protect oil facilities in their communities as pipeline vandalism impacts on the community’s environment and the state economy.
Okowa who made the appeal on Thursday during his maiden radio phone-in programme at Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS), Asaba, as part of activities marking his first year in office said that the incessant pipeline vandalism impacted negatively on the environment of the Niger/Delta region and the economy of the state.
According to him “we have been doing a lot of sensitisation and advocacy on ensuring peace and secured environment for our communities. We need to protect government facilities in our areas, the vandalism of pipelines affects our environment and the economy and development of the state more than the federal government, l plead with Deltans to learn to protect oil facilities in their communities because the damage causes pain to the immediate environment and to the state.”
“If vandalism stops, there will improvement to our economic growth and we will be able to carry out infrastructural development,” he added.
Okowa stated that the present economic challenge in the state was as a result of the dwindling resources saying, “l just learnt from the Accountant General of the state that this month allocation is about N3 billion, this cannot even pay the wage bill of workers put at over N7 billion. The low allocation is as a result of the recent pipeline vandalism in the state, this will also affect our allocation up to the month of August. This criminal act is destroying our state and preventing Deltans from enjoying the dividends of democracy to the fullest.”
The governor noted that his administration has done its best in the last one year to meet up with the campaign promises made to Deltans through infrastructural development, youth empowerment and actualising the SMART agenda and assured Deltans of more dividends of democracy in his second year in office.
He said his administration has put strategies in place to diversify the state economy and expand the tax base of the state in order to boost the internally generated revenue (IGR) for government to meet up its responsibility to the citizens.
While commending Deltans for their support, Senator Okowa urged them to fulfill their tax obligations to the state, stressing “Please let us continue to support government by paying our taxes as when you pay your tax you make good citizens and government will meet your needs.”
He called on Deltans especially pensioners and civil servants to be patient with government, as infrastructural development would get them.
The governor explained that the state was grappling with the management of its over twelve higher institutions and would not embark on the building of more polytechnics given the present financial straits in the country, assuring that in the future if the need arose, it would give priority to the proposed four new polytechnics approved by the last administration.