Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi has appealed to the House of Representatives to summon the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and her counterpart in the Ministry of Water Resources, Stella Ochekpe to explain why the government had continued withholding the World bank and African Development Bank , ADB loans approved by the National Assembly to provide potable drinking water for people of the state.
The governor who made the appeal Monday when the House Committee on Water Resources and the Executive Directors, Niger Delta basin Development Authority paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Port Harcourt said residents in the state were dying from absence of potable drinking, adding that he cannot provide all families in the state with bottled water for consumption.
The governor wondered why the state had not benefited from the loan despite the fact that his administration had fulfilled all conditions for it.
Amaechi said that he would not mind if the Minister of Finance award contract for availability of portable drinking water in the state but all he wanted was for people of the state to access portable drinking water.
” It is embarrassing; completely embarrassing for somebody who has been Managing Director of World Bank to neglect the impact water has on the citizenry. We are prepared to allow the Minister of Finance (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) to award the contract to any person she wants to.
“We are only interested in the provision of potable drinking water for our people. The National Assembly has approved it, and we have fulfilled all requirements with the World Bank and African Development Bank (ADB).
“We are now at the point of release of the funds for execution of the water projects for our people, and she (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) has refused to allow the release of the funds to us”, Amaechi said.
“The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is using her position to undermine the safety and health of the people of Rivers State. I can’t afford to give all Rivers people bottled water,).”, Amaechi noted.
Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources in the House of Representatives, Hon. Aliyu Ahman Pategi said his Committee was in the state on its oversight functions even as he commended the governor for his projects so far in the state.