Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has defended his administrations resolve to access N30 billion from the N53 billion State Reserve Fund, saying it was to enable him complete on-going projects.
Amaechi made the explanation yesterday when he signed the Rivers State Reserve Fund Amendment Bill No. 1, 2014, into Law at the Executive Council chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt.
The amendment of the law, according to him, was to enable the State Government access N30 billion out of the N53 billion saved so far to enable his administration complete on-going projects.
According to him, â€œThe basic reason for the amendment is that the Federal Government is claiming that oil theft has affected our revenue and the allocation is dwindling seriously. I want to add that corruption is also responsible. And because we have numerous projects to fund, I have been consulting with other members of cabinet that there was the need to have access to that fund. We will continue to save when the revenue improves, but for now, I think, it is necessary that we take about N30 billion to fund our projects and also run government.
â€œI had a debate with the State Assembly on the amendment. I didnâ€™t know that the need to utilise the money will crop up in our regime and at this point, it is an emergency and we need to have access to that fund.â€
Earlier, leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, said the need to access the funds became necessary due to the daunting challenges affecting the Amaechi-led administration.
He said, â€œWe are aware that you (Amaechi) wanted to put a stop to empty state treasury whenever there is transition of government, and critics of this administration has argued that we have not saved any money.
â€œNow, in the law, we are told that bottlenecks will make it impossible to access these funds. But, the law has specifically provided that the funds will only be accessed in situations of emergency. And here, members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, in one of the meetings with you did advise that we unlock this money, so that in the face of the daunting challenges that we have, we can access these funds, nobody saves money when he is hungry. We have bills to pay, we have daunting challenges.
â€œWe cannot afford to save a whooping sum of N53 billion where there are bills to pay. The House of Assembly went into serious business to review the law to make it possible for your administration to access the funds, and that is exactly what we have done.â€
While commending members of the public for volunteering information to the police at will, he urged them to do more so that the police can serve the society better in 2014 and beyond.
Meanwhile, the Lagos CP has frowned at the way and manner at which vehicle road users violate laws of the land by operating their vehicles on Lagos roads without registration.
While calling on motorists to make sure their vehicles are adequately registered, he said the Command would only give a grace of one month with effect from January 13.
Manko said after the expiration of the one month grace, the command would be left with no option than to commence a thorough clampdown on offenders and violators charged to court.