Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has been commended for embarking on a massive urban regeneration and renewal programme of Port Harcourt, the state capital, a statement issued on Saturday by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor, said.
Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, handed down the applause on Saturday while commissiong the Rebisi Flyover Bridge in Port Harcourt.
The minister, who took a walk on the 969. 4 metres’ long Rebisi Dual Carriage Flyover Bridge with his host, Governor Wike, said such development efforts would promote peace among residents, tourism and return Port Harcourt to its “Garden City” status.
Fashola, who had earlier visited the Rumuogba, Okoro-Nu-Odu, Rumuola and GRA Junction flyovers, all in the state capital, under construction, described the efforts of government as adding commendable. “What I witnessed is a massive urban regeneration and urban renewal of Port Harcourt”, the Minister was quoted to have said.
He said Ministers had been mandated to support the developmental initiative and aspiration of every state in the country. This, he said, also informed the initiative to refund money spent on federal roads to states. According to him, the first tranche of refund was about N577 billion, while the second tranche, for which, Rivers State is a beneficiary, is N148 billion.
“In the second tranche, it was five states. Out of those five states, I think only two were APC(All Progressives Congress) states (that benefitted) and it was a total of N148billiion and Governor Nyesom Wike and Rivers State got lion share. He got N78billion. Don’t sit here and think he has received N78 billion. He still has to go to (the) National Assembly because this is part of Nigeria’s borrowing plan”, he said.
The Minister commended Governor Wike for naming the Rebisi Flyover which is located at Garrison Junction, after the community.
“This place used to be known as Garrison (Junction). But, clearly as we begin to shed our military toga and our democracy ages and deepens, we will see a rebirth in our unity, our oneness and our shared developmental aspiration” he said.
Governor Wike said when the State Government flagged off the Rebisi, Okoro-Nu-Odu and Rumuogba flyovers simultaneously in October 2019, many sceptics, had questioned the possibility of the state completing the projects within the estimated time frame of 16 months.
He explained that the contractor, Julius Berger, worked assiduously, even during the COVID-19 lockdown, just to ensure that the projects were delivered on time.
“By December, we have to commission Okoro-Nu-Odu flyover. By February, we have to commission Rumuogba and Rumuola; by March-April, we will commission the GRA flyover” he said.
Governor Wike expressed satisfaction that his administration has been able to fulfil the promise of constructing five Flyover Bridges, with one of them achieved in twelve months.
The governor said the flyover bridge by CFC/Corpus Christi bus stop would be expanded to make it the sixth flyover project under construction in the state.
Governor Wike, who noted the leadership role played by Mr. Fashola in the assessment of the application for refund to the state money spent on federal projects, also appealed that the new flyover projects be considered for refund.
The governor who frowned at the refusal of traders to obey Government’s directive not to display their wares along the roads in order not to inconvenience road users, said an Executive Order would be signing that on Monday to discourage the practice.
He explained that when in force, any landlord who allows traders to display wares for sale in front of their buildings would forfeit them to government which shall put them to public use.
Rivers State Commissioner for Works , Mr. Eloka Tasie-Amadi, said when the Rebisi Flyover Bridge was flagged off on the 24 October, 2019, it was envisaged to be completed in 16 months but expressed delight it was achieved within 12 months.
He said the project is to improve the aesthetics of the city, enhance traffic flow and reduce man-hour loss due to traffic gridlock. He added that it would eradicate traffic conflict at the junction and reduce vehicular damage.