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No Going Back On Waterfronts Demolition, Amaechi Declares

Contrary to speculation that the Rivers state government may have abandoned the demolition of waterfronts, the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said there is no going back on the demolition of waterfronts.
In a media briefing with a cross section of journalists at the government house Port Harcourt, Amaechi said the delimotion of waterfronts would recommence as soon as the government is able to get money to pay for the structures to be demolished.
According to him the next phase of demolition would begin with Abonnema wharf, a short distance from Njemanze waterfronts that was first demolished, couple of months ago, describing those residing at the waterfronts as illegal occupants, adding that the law was on his side to demolish the waterfronts.
According to him, “I will demolish all the waterfronts in the state. The people living their are illegal occupants, they have what is called temporary occupation license which means that when a government wakes up and say it wants its land back, they are supposed to vacate after seven days. So first and foremost, the law is not in their side, it is on my side”, he added.
Reacting to amnesty international opposing the demolition of waterfronts and the state urban renewal policy, he wondered why the officials of the body stay in cosy and conducive environment in their offices abroad and see nothing abnormal in human beings living in crime infested waterfronts slums.
“But as a governor and a human being we are supposed to have a lot of human face to a lot of those problems, we have said we will pay for all the properties we meet in the course of this demolition at a commercial rate”, he posited.
He disclosed that 80% to 90% of criminals who cause havoc in the state are living in the waterfronts.
On the insinuation that some states are bankrupt, governor Amaechi who described the insinuation as false, argued that the state needed money from the federation account to execute various programmes and projects that would benefit the citizenry.
In his words, “We are not bankrupt, but we don’t have money. We need the revenue formula to change to favour the state, so that we can do more. Even the president who is from Bayelsa needs Bayelsa to develop, so that when he retires as president he can come to a conducive environment”.
According to him, out of the N40 billion loan borrowed from the bank, the state has repaid N6 billion, while affirming that his administration will still go ahead with its plan to raise N250 billion through bond as borrowing from bank is no longer attractive due to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increase of interest rate.
On the monorail project, governor Amaechi who said he would shame critics, dismissed claims by critics that the project is unrealistic, stressing that the project is feasible and on course. He explaining that the construction process is slow due to its highly technical and delicate nature and wondered why people criticize the government in spite of the projects made, adding that the project was conceived to address the increasing transportation problems faced in the Port Harcourt metropolice.
He disclosed that the technical report obtained was never against the monorail but the ground rail system. ###
Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor

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