By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the federal government did not disburse N34billion to the state as Paris Fund Refund, saying that the level of lies, deceit and negativeÂ propaganda by the Federal Government has reached anÂ embarrassing level.
Wike challengedÂ the federal governmentÂ to publish the account where it paid N34billion in respectÂ of the Paris Fund Refund due to the state.Â
Speaking during the first session of the 8th Synod Thanksgiving Service of the AnglicanÂ Province of Niger Delta, Wike said: â€œAs I speak to you, no N34billion has been paid to Rivers State. I challenge the federal government to show Nigerians the account they paid the N34billion.â€
He said the federal governmentÂ released N14billion as Paris Fund Refund to the state.
According to him, afterÂ series of protestsÂ that the state had been short-changed, the federal government released another N3billion to the state, totalling N17billion.
The governorÂ explained that the state government judiciouslyÂ deployed the N17billion and monitored theÂ use of the local government funds for theÂ paymentÂ of outstanding salaries.Â
He accused the federal governmentÂ of deliberately short-changing Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta States by ignoring the approved payment plan.
Meanwhile, Wike has declared that the state is becoming safer on a daily basis because of theÂ investments of his administration in the maintenance of security.
Also last Saturday, Wike appreciated the people of the state who have invested in the economic development of the state.
Speaking atÂ a dinner to mark the 20th anniversary of Air France flying into the Port Harcourt International Airport, the governor said: â€œPort Harcourt is becoming safer everyday because of the commitment of the administrationÂ to the security of lives and property.
â€œWe will do everything to build on the confidence of investors to do business in Rivers State.â€
He said attracting investments remain critical to the rapid development of the state because in generates employment.
â€œIt is a priority for us to attract investors for our people to be employed. That is why we make security a priority.â€
The governor berated oppositionÂ leaders for engaging in negative propaganda against the people on security issues, pointing out that they refuse to acknowledgeÂ the fact that Rivers is more secure than Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, BenueÂ and Kano where kidnappers and murderers ravage urban communitiesÂ as reported daily.
He said: â€œInvestors are coming to Rivers regularly and they are talking about insecurity.Â Look at what is happening in Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna and Kano and you will realise that this state is the safest.â€
French Consul General, Laurent Poloceaux, said French businesses are thriving in Rivers State with schools, businesses and Air France.
Air France Manager, Jean Raul Tanzin, said Air France became the first international airline to fly into the Port Harcourt International Airport 20 years ago.
He said Air France has weathered challenges to deliverÂ quality services to the of Rivers State and other Niger Delta states.
At the inauguration of the Echelon Height Hotel on Saturday, Governor Wike said the hotel constructed by indigenes of the state is an encouragement to other persons to investÂ their resources in the state.
He said the huge population and economic activities across the state, indicate that the state is viable for investments.
The governor said the state government will partner with the hotel, but urged the managementÂ to pay their taxes regularly.