By Suoyo Ekubo
Following the demolition of the Bayelsa state government dilapidated property in Port Harcourt by the Rivers state government, Governor Nyesom Wike has said that nothing has strained the relationship between Rivers and Bayelsa State.
Governor Wike stated this at flag-off construction of seven units of five bedroom buildings for judges of Rivers State judiciary on Monday 22nd May 2023.
The residential quarters is sited on the land where the Rivers State government recently demolished defaced property owned by the Bayelsa State government on Akasa Street in Old GRA, Port Harcourt.
Performing the flag-off governor Wike explained that with the dilapidated property owned by the Bayelsa State government demolished, his administration considered it appropriate to develop on it residential quarters for judges.
A Statement released by Kelvin Ebiri SA to the Rivers State government quoting Governor Wike explained that the project is implemented under his administration urban renewal programme and to rid the area of criminal elements who used once abandoned Bayelsa State property as hideout.
“This is the second phase of residence for judges of the Rivers State judiciary. It is important to let the public know where we are. This place used to be Bayelsa State government property when it was created out of Rivers State.”
“As part of urban renewal, we gave the whole of Old GRA to Julius Berger Nigeria PLC to do all the roads and drainages.”
Governor Wike recalled that in August 2021, he wrote to the Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri to inform him about how very dilapidated the property was and how it served as hideout of people who could not be properly identified.
The engagement between them, he said continued without yielding the expected responses and his administration was compelled to acquire the property under public policy.
“Even when we attended our governors meeting, I called his attention to it, saying there is no way we can allow this kind of property to be here.
“It is either you renovate it, which will not cost more than two or three hundred million or you sell it to the Rivers State government to be able to rebuild the place, so that we know those who are staying here. In 2022, I reminded him again.”
Governor Wike said it became impossible to allow the dilapidated property to remain, so it was destroyed to ensure that the intended clean and safe environment was achieved.
The governor pointed out: “and to tell Bayélsa people, I have nothing against Bayelsa State or Bayelsa people. But every government must be serious and show leadership.”
Governor Wike emphasised that it was because of the existing cordial relationship that his administration embarked on building hostels and auditorium at the Yenagoa campus of the Nigerian Law School.
“Nobody forced me to go and intervene when I intervened in the law school (in Yenagoa). I spent not less than N5.3B. If we have anything against Bayelsa State, we would not have even tried to help in rebuilding the law school.
“When Bayelsa State government was inaugurating their Medical University, Rivers State government was invited, on that Saturday, I was there and Rivers State government donated N500M.
“And on Monday the Bayelsa State government acknowledged receipt of the money. We are playing brotherly and sisterly role which is what it is supposed to be.”
The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Hon. Justice Simeon Amadi commended the Rivers State governor for his unparalleled support to the judiciary.
Providing description for the project, the State Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly Dakorinama Alabo, said the second phase of the Judges Residential Quarters consist of seven units of five bedroom bungalows, service rooms, boys quarters and other facilities that will provide comfort for the judicial officers.
The Commissioner for Works further added that the project will be completed within five months.