Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was heavily criticised for pledging a sum of N500 million to victims of Sokoto Central Market fire incident.
Rivers State Chairman of Civil Society Organisation, Enefaa Georgewill handed a downright condemnation on Thursday, saying Rivers State under Wike has numerous challenges begging for attention.
Rivers governor was in Sokoto on solidarity visit after the blaze that raged down almost the entire market which he was taken round by his counterpart and host, Aminu Tambuwal while assessing the extent of the damage.
Wike who announced a donation of N500 million on Wednesday said the money will mitigate the hardship occasioned by the inferno.
According to Wike, whatever affects Sokoto, affects Rivers people, noting that his administration would assist in the reconstruction of the market.
“A situation where the means of livelihood of the people of Sokoto State, the drive of the government to improve the people’s lives and a broad spectrum of socio-economic wellbeing of many people will be affected does not augur well for development and progress”, Wike noted.
Kebbi State Governor has also donated N30m to the victims of the inferno.
In his remarks earlier, Sokoto State governor and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal while taking Rivers governor round the market revealed that the market had 16,000 shops out of which about 60 per cent were affected by the inferno despite effort by the State apparatus Federal government agencies to put it off.
Georgewill, however, stated, “We see it (pledge) as pure act of wickedness for the governor to have ignored a lot of salient and pertinent issues in the state and pledged such huge amount of money to citizens of another state.
“It is more like the proverbial refusal to remove the log in your eyes but instead attempt to remove the speck in somebody else’s eyes.
“We have the case of the Orashi region that has been ravaged by flood. Governor Wike did not make any response and there is no well-coordinated distribution of relief materials to the people.
“We are in a state where pensioners and retirees are complaining that they have not been paid their gratuities since he assumed office as the governor of Rivers State, and he is going to donate N500m to citizens in another state.”
The CSO leader added, “We are talking about a state where since the inception of this government, we have not witnessed bursary paid to Rivers students, which is the culture and tradition that previous governments had followed.
“We are talking about a state where even the minimum wage has yet to be fully implemented, because workers are still grumbling. A whole lot of issues need to be attended to.
“As far as we are concerned, what the governor has done by that pledge or donation is mere eye service and unnecessary politicking.”
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