The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has reportedly pledged N600 million to the Akwa Ibom State Government in support of the building of a hospital in the state.
The hospital project – Akwa Ibom State University Teaching Hospital – is located in Awa, Onna Local Government Area of the state.
Punch newspaper quoted Mr Wike’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, as saying that the governor made the pledge on Wednesday while performing a groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital project.
The hospital project is a partnership between the Akwa Ibom Government and Bua Group which announced an initial support of N2.5 billion for the project, the Akwa Ibom State Government said in a statement.
The oil-rich Rivers State shares a boundary with Akwa Ibom, another state that is also rich in petroleum oil. Both states are ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party.
Mr Wike in January made a similar pledge of N500 million towards the rebuilding of a market destroyed by fire in Sokoto State, Nigeria’s North-west region.
The pledge had sparked controversy because of a lingering dispute over the non-payment of pensions and gratuity to thousands of retired civil servants in Rivers State.
The Chairperson of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners in the state, Collins Nwankwo, last December, threatened to lead his members into the street for a protest against the state government over the unpaid pensions, according to a report by Punch newspaper.
Mr Nwankwo said the pensioners had made several pleas to Mr Wike, and that the governor was just insensitive to their plight.
“It is very pathetic that the usual payment of gratuities, pension arrears and death benefits which hitherto was a thing of joy, has become a source of punishment to our living pensioners and the survivors of the deceased ones.
“Since the inception of the present administration in 2015, no dime has been paid in this direction and all efforts towards getting our government to consider the need to address them are never admitted. At a point, when all these efforts fail, we will embark on the protest. We will have to talk to those who will be able to walk,” Mr Nwankwo said.
Governor Wike’s media aide, Mr Ebiri did not respond to calls and a text message seeking comment from him.
‘Akwa Ibom, Niger Delta safe for investors’
Mr Wike, while in Akwa Ibom, also performed a groundbreaking ceremony for Sterling Petro-Chemicals and Fertiliser Production plant in Eastern Obolo.
The governor said Akwa Ibom and Niger Delta are safe for investors.
“If Akwa Ibom State is not safe, will investors come here? Investors are here because the governor has provided an enabling environment and that gives confidence to the investors. If a place is not secure for people to invest their money, we won’t be here.
“Don’t mind the enemies of the people who will always say that Niger Delta is not safe. If it is not safe, can anyone come and invest money here?” Mr Wike said.
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