THE Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said contrary to the claims of the immediate past administration that it left N7 bn in the state coffers, he met an empty treasury.
Wike explained that the treasury where the monthly federal allocation accruing to the state was always kept had remained in debit as of May 29 when he (governor) took over the reins of governance in the state.
The governor made this remark on Thursday at the Government House in Port Harcourt during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the state government and officials of Julius Berger and a Chinese Construction firm, CCECC, for the rehabilitation of 33 kilometres of township roads in the state capital.
He stated that from the brief he received from the State Accountant General after his inauguration, only one revenue account with Sterling Bank had some funds left by the immediate past administration.
Wike said, “I want to say in good authority that we did not meet any N7 bn as being speculated. The state’s FAAC account as of May 29, 2015 was in debit. That was the briefing I received from the Accountant-General.”
Signing the MoU with two construction giants, Julius Berger and CCECC, Wike explained that the step was in realisation of his administration’s Zero Potholes programme launched on May 29, 2015.
According to the governor, while Julius Berger is to handle the rehabilitation of 11 kilometres of township roads alongside street lights and traffic lights, the CCECC will handle 20 kilometres of township roads in Port Harcourt.
He explained that the state government had resolved to work with the construction giants to rebuild road infrastructure in the state capital and added that the revival of facilities in the state capital was beyond political consideration.
He, however, promised to personally monitor the execution of the projects by the construction giants.
Wike explained that his administration had resolved to take the N10bn loan with specific focus on key projects to be implemented, noting that the request to the State House of Assembly was accompanied by all the projects to be executed.
Responding, representative of Julius Berger Plc, Mr. Marco Braun, assured the Rivers State Government that the project would be completed as scheduled.
Also, the representative of CCECC, Mr Lee Kin Yong, expressed happiness that the Chinese company would be involved in the revival of infrastructure in the state.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding was supervised by the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chinwe Aguma.