Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Government has said it has invested over N90 billion in the construction of critical road infrastructure to develop the economy of the state.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has also said the infrastructure development programme of his administration has been insulated from political consideration for the attainment of positive results.
Declaring open the West Africa Architects Fair (WAAF 2016) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Wike said: “On infrastructure, we have over N90 billion into construction, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, bridges and jetties. This money has effectively delivered over 80 roads, while work is ongoing on the construction of about 35 new roads, spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“Most importantly, in order to derive maximum value for money spent, we have insulated our infrastructure development and delivery master plan from political considerations by ensuring that the designing, construction and supervision of all our roads are handled by reputable professionals and construction companies.”
Represented by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Wike noted that his administration overcame initial challenges of empty treasury, unpaid salaries , insecurity caused by closed courts and a weak economy.
He said: “When we assumed office we met a state that was at the lowest rung in all indices of development. Besides an empty treasury, we inherited months of unpaid salaries to civil servants and a totally broken infrastructure. The poor security situation was exacerbated by the prolonged closure of the courts for over 12 months leading to unprecedented capital flights and disinvestments.
“However, 17 months after, we have recorded remarkable achievements in several areas of development. For instance, our first sets of priority were to clear the backlog of salaries, fix our broken roads and transport infrastructure and create jobs by reflating the economy. In all these we have successfully delivered.
“For instance, apart from clearing the arrears of salaries, we are among the very few States with proven capacity to meet our financial obligations to civil servants, contractors and vendors. On infrastructure, we have over 90 billion naira into construction, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, bridges and jetties”.
The governor lauded Nigerian architects for their contributions to the development of the country. He said since his days as council chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, through to his days as Minister of State for Education to now that he is a governor, he has collaborated with architects to deliver quality projects.
In his remarks, the President of Nigeria Institute of Architects, Tonye Oliver Braide, said architects are working towards developing new cities that will help grow the economies of different countries.
WAAF 2016 is a gathering of architects and allied professionals from across West African sub-region.