Rivers lawmakers tasks commissioners on accountability
Rivers State House of Assembly has vowed that nine commissioners in the State executives council must give judicious account of how they utilized funds disbursed to them in the past four years.
But the Commissioner of Power, Augustine Wokocha, has blamed deplorable electricity situation in the State on the dwindling revenue of the state, which has adversely impacted on planned power programme of the administration.
Displeased by the inability of the State Government to pay workers salaries and depreciable ability of provide some social services, the lawmaker had invited the Commissioners of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Health, Power, Transport, Works, Tourism, Agriculture and Information and Communications, as well as the chairman board of Internal Revenue to give account of their stewardship.
At the resumed sitting of the House yesterday, only the Commissioners of Power, Information and Communications, Agriculture and Works, including the chairman of board of internal revenue honoured the invitation.
The lawmakers desire to commence the probe of the commissioners was however thwarted by the failure of the House leader, Chidi Lloyd, to avail his colleagues documents the various commissioners submitted to him in defense of their activities in the past four years. Lloyd who took full responsibility for this, urged the House to reschedule the probe to enable lawmakers examine the documents presented by the commissioners.
But the Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee, who prescribed over the House sitting, insisted that, the commissioners present must be interrogated, by lawmakers and he directed the Commissioner of Power, Wokocha, to brief members on activities of his ministry.
Wokocha explained his ministry received only N30 billion out of the N70billion it requested to stabilize electricity supply to Port Harcourt and the entire State. He narrated that out of the N30 billion, his ministry was able to complete a new 360 megawatts power plant at Afam, build 28 substations and installed several transformers.
Not pleased with the Commissioner’s explanation, the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Golden Chioma, representing Etche Constituency II, interjected, that he needs to explain to Rivers people why after expending such huge resources power outage still persist. He said the lawmakers are upset and would need to ask the commissioner of Power why after receiving such huge sums of money, power outage still persist in the State. According to him, commissioner should be able to explain how he judiciously used the money disbursed to him to boost electricity supply in the State.
The Commissioner of Works, Victor Giadoom, explained that a total of 306 contracts were awarded for the construction of roads, bridge, shore protectors. Though he did not disclose the value of the contractors, he said 108 of these projects have been completed.
On her part, the Commissioner of Information and Communications, Mrs.Ibim Semenitari, explained that hers was a service ministry and not a project execution one.