Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has signed into law the 2023 Appropriation Bill N555, 666,987, 238 (Five Hundred and Fifty Five Billion, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty Eight Naira only.)
Governor Wike also gave assent to the Rivers State Child’s Rights Bill No.6 of 2022, which will protect all children in the State from all forms of abuse.
The governor signed the two legal instruments at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday.
On the Rivers State Appropriation Law No. 5 of 2022, governor Wike acknowledged the tireless efforts shown by members of the State House of Assembly in considering the details of the budget within the two weeks of its presentation and expeditiously passing into law.
Such collaboration, he noted is what is always required between the arms of government to achieve the overall goal of government serving the needs of the governed.
“That is why we have always said that it is important to have collaboration between the arms of government for the interest of the state, not for the interest of any particular person or group of persons.”
Governor Wike assured that his administration will leave no stone unturned in implementing the 2023 budget to deliver more infrastructure in the State.
“That means that we have no choice but to robustly follow the appropriation law in order to tackle most of the challenges that have to do with infrastructure.
“We are in December now, so we believe that by January we should start implementing the 2023 appropriation law.
I’m sure, with the number of projects we are doing, and funds are being provided, we believe by the grace of God, we would have accomplished what we are set out to do.”
On the Rivers State Child’s Rights Law No 6 of 2022, governor Wike noted the gross child’s abuse, indecent assault of children, and terrible experiences that children are subjected when they are forced into labour. According to him, with the signing of the law, the State can inaugurate the Family Court.
“Because this law had not been amended that is why the Family Court cannot sit. So the family court will be inaugurated on 19 of this month, since bill has been passed and I have assented to it.”
Governor Wike said children are humans and do have rights to decent life, living and put through education to actualise their full potentials.
“Here, we do not understand that children too are human beings. They ought to have their own rights. I’m sure with this passage a lot of people will understand that things cannot be done as usual.
“Some parents do not like to send their children to school. They would rather like them to be on the road. This reminds me, let me say no community or local government can bring out their children from their classes to come out and wave us when visit for project commissioning.
“If the project is inside the school, that, the children can appreciate, is a different thing. But to bring the children to the road to come and wait for whoever, that is not acceptable at all.”
The governor has therefore, directed the State Commissioner for Education to instruct head teachers and principals of schools to desist from bringing their pupils and students out to the road to wave at whoever was visiting communities to inaugurate projects.
Governor Wike also informed that names of members to be appointed into three commissions will sent to the State House of Assembly on Monday for screening. One of the commissions is the Rivers State Civil Service Commission.
The Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule commended the governor for giving priority to capital expenditure in order to address the infrastructure need of the State.
He further expressed optimism with the amended Child’s Rights law in effect, children in the State can now be better protected from abuses, indecent assault and child labour.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, commended the governor for his tireless commitment to the development of the State.