Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has continued to receive criticisms over his donation of N500 million last week to victims of the Sokoto market fire disaster.
His critics in Port Harcourt said that it was quite insensitive of the governor to have ignored the myriads of indebtedness the state government had in the state and gone to faraway Sokoto to provide relief for the victims.
However the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, had questioned the humanity of Wike’s critics in this respect.
“These unfortunate outbursts have largely been uncharitable, ill-mannered and indeed a very poor and sad reflection of whom we are as Rivers people and our proud national image and recognition as ‘our brothers’ keeper’.
“As Rivers People, we have our challenges but that doesn’t mean we have lost our sense of humanity and this is what Governor Wike epitomises with great equanimity and humility.
“It is therefore with an even greater sense of deep sadness and disappointment that we read how some people described the gesture as evidence of financial recklessness.”
Bare two days after the Sokoto donation, there was a fire incident in Port Harcourt where an explosion at a gas station led to heavy damages to property at Rumuodomaya. And critics have expressed surprise that the governor had not visited the victims, let alone give them financial support to cushion the effect of their losses.
Jeremiah Olakanwi, a fire professional said it was disturbing that despite the plethora of fire stations and trained firemen in Rivers State, government has failed to equip the fire stations and engage the firemen to tackle emergency fire situations.
He said, “Our government is giving out some millions of money to be spent in other States over fire outbreak. Such money can get us some fire trucks and equipment for each of the stations. We should thank God Almighty for the strength and courage given to the residents who were able to contain it from spreading to the entire community, as we also know that gas travel faster in air than PMS.”
He said an army of retired fire fighters in the state could still be of great help to salvage fire situations if there are functional equipment.
A former publicity secretary of the opposition APC in Rivers State, Chris Finebone said the governor was playing Robin Hood with Rivers State money because of his 2023 presidential aspiration.
“People believe that Gov. Wike is trying very hard to buy the 2023 Presidential or Vice Presidential ticket of the PDP with Rivers taxpayers’ money. This is exactly what played out when the governor last week doled out a curious sum of N500m to the Sokoto State government over a market fire incident. This is the latest in the string of politically motivated donations the governor has been making across Nigeria.
“This unbridled profligacy flies in the face of the fact that Rivers pensioners are owed gratuities and pension, the State Secretariat Complex is in squalor because of lack of water and electricity, even some victims of market fire disasters in the State and the annual flooding that sweep through the Orashi region taking lives and livelihood are totally ignored by the governor,” Finebone said.