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Rivers govt gives reason for demolition of House of Assembly Complex

Rivers govt gives reason for demolition of House of Assembly Complex

The Rivers State Government had defended its decision to demolish the state’s House of Assembly.

The government said it will rebuild State House of Assembly Complex due to the structural defects which arose mainly from a recent explosion.

It said the fire incident rendered the main building unfit for human use.

A statement issued by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Joseph Johnson, on Wednesday said after the visit of the governor to inspect the level of damage done to the building on the day of the fire incident, it became necessary to invite professionals to advise the government on the integrity of the building.

Dynamites had been reportedly used to attack the complex, leading to visible cracks on the walls afterwards, according to claims.

“After the assessment of the integrity of the complex, the experts warned the government that continuing to use the building in its present state would be disastrous.

“The government had tried all cost saving measures towards repair of the complex until it bowed to superior view of rebuilding the complex to a more befitting edifice,” Johnson stated.

He said that the state government had provided an alternative venue for the House of Assembly to conduct their affairs pending the rebuilding of the complex.

Demolition erased Rivers’ history

Enemi Alabo George, one of the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), has expressed concerns that the demolition of the House of Assembly complex by the state government has resulted in the loss of important historical information, records, and archives.

Alabo-George, the Chairman of the House Committee on Informational, described Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s government’s action as the height of irresponsibility and stated that there was no need to destroy the entire complex when the explosion that rocked the complex only affected the hallowed chamber.

He bemoaned the fact that staff and legislators were not permitted to remove their personal belongings and documentation before the destruction started.

In an interview on Channels TV on Wednesday afternoon, he said: “I came to Abuja for a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) and I was supposed to go back to Port Harcourt this morning when I heard the news. It’s a sad, unfortunate, and interesting day to be alive; that we would wake up to see many years of hard work, history and works of our forebears and predecessors brought down in one fell swoop.

“Our documents, files, archives, and the entire signature of the Rivers State House of Assembly, built from the fourth Assembly till date, were brought down for nothing. But I think history will judge everyone. I’m not talking about personal items and stuff we had in our offices.

“When I came here (to the Assembly), I learnt the job through documents, files, and archives I saw in the library and other things. Everything that represents the history and image of the House of Assembly from the first Assembly to date has just been brought down, and it’s something very difficult to explain. I’m as shocked as people are.”

When asked why he didn’t buy the state government’s explanation that the building’s structural integrity was compromised following the explosion that shook the area a few weeks prior, Alabo-George responded, “The Rivers State House of Assembly building, before it was brought down today, was the best House of Assembly building in Nigeria. It was the finest and the best planned.

“The fire happened in the hallowed chamber of the House of Assembly, and that was why we moved to another auditorium. The complex is massive, but everyone knows what the issues are.

“If you want to demolish the official building that houses the House of Assembly, you would give notices, allow us to move out our stuff, and documents, and the House has to approve it. The executive cannot move in one day to demolish the House of Assembly without the approval of the House and let us plan where to move to.

“You don’t wake up one day and lead bulldozers into the complex and bring it down with everything inside. It is difficult to explain; because of one man’s ego. This is the height of recklessness and lawlessness.”

Fubara presents 2024 budget to five Rivers lawmakers

Governor Siminalayi Fubara has presented the 2024 Rivers State appropriation bill.

The governor arrived at the plenary of the assembly under the speakership of Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie, around 9:00 a.m.

Fubara was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Danagogo, Commissioner for Finance, Isaac Kamalu, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, and other members of his cabinet.

The State Executive Council, in its 5th sitting on Monday, approved the estimated budget of over N800 billion, christened the Budget of Renewed Hope, Consolidation, and Continuity for the 2024 fiscal year.

During the Wednesday proceedings, Edison also declared vacant the seat of 27 of 32 lawmakers that defected to APC.

This is coming after the demolition of the State House of Assembly building on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.

Fubara hails Wike on 56th birthday

Despite all the political crises between, the two, Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has hailed his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, on his 56th birthday anniversary.

Fubara, in a congratulatory tweet, shared a flyer showing Wike in a traditional outfit on his X handle on Wednesday.

The flyer text reads, “I congratulate my Oga, His Excellency, Chief (Dr.) Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, Life Bencher, immediate Past Governor of Rivers State and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, on his 56th birthday today, December 13, 2023.”

“Your Excellency, my dear wife and I, and the good people of Rivers State, join your family and friends to felicitate you on this day. We sincerely pray that your new age brings you joy and good health.”

 

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Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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