Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that it is not enough for the government to build only physical infrastructure and ignore the welfare of less privileged members of society.
The governor, who stated this on Friday at the inauguration of the Rivers State Rehabilitation Centre, Iriebe, pointed out that any government that did not take care of the less privileged in the society was doomed.
The governor had been criticized for placing too much emphasis on the construction of flyovers and roads without paying attention to the welfare of workers and the development of human capital.
But Wike said his administration placed a premium on catering to the needs of people with social, psychological and other forms of disabilities and that was why he has built a rehabilitation home for them.
“In life, like I have said, building roads alone is not enough. Building health centres alone is not enough. Building educational facilities alone is not enough. Any government that does not take care of the less privileged, that does not take care of those who may not have access to education and health, that government is doomed for failure,” he declared.
The governor noted that misfortune could befall some people and compel them into a lifestyle that is not approved by society. According to him, such persons need a well-meaning government to factor them into schemes that would provide them with a future.
“They might have taken drugs because of, maybe, our own faults. Some people lack that parental care and have been lured into all kinds of vices. But we blame them.
“However, society must provide for them. Some of them may have been the best if they were in school. Some of them would have been the best if they were working. So, you need to provide a place (Rehab) for them; a place where they can be talked to, be counseled and eventually come back to life (sanity).”
The governor approved a N200 million grant to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation to enable it to attend to the daily requirements of the rehabilitation centre.
Performing the inauguration, the former Senator from Niger State, Zaynab A. Kure said Governor Wike was a gender-friendly leader for having a female deputy and working amicably with a woman while he served as a Minister of State (Education).
According to her, development is not about roads alone, but it must also address the health of the people, both young and old.
“You picked a female as a deputy. Right from the time you picked her, nobody has heard of a friction between you and the deputy governor.
“It shows how gender-friendly you are, and of course, how passionate, and tolerant you are of the development of Rivers State ditto the whole nation.”
She further commended the governor for reviving the centre which will help the government tackle the problem of mental health of the State, particularly at this time when Nigerians were grappling with the challenge of depression.
The Commissioner for Social Welfare and rehabilitation, Mrs. Inime Chinwenwo- Aguma said the old structure was overcrowded, dilapidated and suffered annual flooding with no medical centre and vocational training facility such that it became difficult for the centre to perform its core function and service to the vagrant lunatics, beggars and destitute often evacuated off the streets of Port Harcourt.
“This administration deemed it pertinent to remodel (reconstruct) the rehabilitation Centre. The re-established centre is now comprised of; an administrative building equipped with learning centres; a service building with a kitchen, dining hall and laundry room.; staff building, separate hostels for inmates, an isolation centre, sickbay and recreational area,” she said.
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