The All Progressives Congress (APC) said that President Goodluck Jonathan had declared war on the people of Rivers State with the omission of the state from capital projects that would be executed in the country in the 2014 fiscal year.
The party described the development as condemnable and wondered why Jonathan would stoop so low to give the Rivers State a zero allocation in the 2014 budget of the Federal Ministry of Works, due to his political disagreement with Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday and signed by senior special assistant on media to the interim chairman of APC in the state, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, it lauded the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Dakuku Peterside, for staging a walk-out during the budget defence of the Federal Ministry of Works, in protest over the development.
The statement reads in part, “We have learnt with shock and disbelief, of the zero allocation to Rivers State in the 2014 budget of the Federal Ministry of Works. What this means is that Rivers State will not receive any federal government project this year.
“No one is deceived by the claim of the minister of works, Architect Mike Onolememen, while defending the ministry’s budget on Tuesday before the House of Representatives Committee on Works, that neither the federal government nor his ministry was at war with Rivers State. If that is the case, then what could have warranted the omission of Rivers State from the list of states that will enjoy federal government presence in terms of capital project execution this year? If this is not war, then what is it?
“This is very sad and condemnable. It is simply unbelievable that President Jonathan could stoop so low as to direct the Ministry of Works to bypass Rivers State just because he has some differences with Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“We must, in this regard, commend Hon. Dakuku Peterside, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), for proving to be a worthy representative of the people of Rivers State by staging a walk-out in protest over the zero allocation to the state during the Works Ministry’s budget defence.
“A breakdown of details of on-going highway and bridge projects in Rivers State shows that no single allocation was given to such projects as construction of Eleme Junction Flyover and dualisation of the access roads to Onne Port in Rivers State; access roads to Eleme Port Harcourt Refinery; construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with a bridge across the Opobo Channel and the rehabilitation of the Abalamabie (Allison Hart) bridge. It will be recalled that Rivers State government awarded and completed Eleme Junction Flyover project in the year 2009.
“If we may ask, what joy does President Jonathan derive in continuing this ill-advised war against Rivers State and her people? Under the watch of President Jonathan, Rivers State has lost much revenue as our oil wells were transferred to neighbouring states. They have taken away the oil wells in Soku and given them to his home state, Bayelsa. They have taken the ones between Oyigbo and Etche and given them to Abia. So, our resources continue to dwindle. We used to make between N19billion and N20billion; now we are doing N13billion.”