Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State says his administration plans to launch itsÂ free education policy on October 1, 2010.
Governor Amaechi who disclosed this in Abonnema during a Town Hall meeting with the people ofÂ the Local Government area, said the free education and health care policy would be dependent onÂ the passage of the bill â€œSocial Contributory Levyâ€ by the State House of Assembly.
He said the bill would require parents to pay a certain amount of money to complement what theÂ state government would provide to enable the students that would gain admission into the newÂ model secondary schools enjoy free uniforms, sandals, books and feeding.
According to him, â€œif the schools charge fees, many poor parents cannot afford to send theirÂ wards to the school, and urged the people to plead with their representatives to consider theÂ importance of the bill to the common citizens and pass it into law.
HeÂ remarked that in addition, the state government would also in October inaugurate itsÂ Songhai Model Farm to enable those trained by the state in Benin Republic practice the skillÂ they have acquired.
On the ongoing construction of Model Primary Schools and Health Centres, the governor assuredÂ the people that contract for the remaining ones would be awarded before the end of SeptemberÂ 2010, while those yet to be completed would be monitored to ensure early completion.
Governor Amaechi observed that another project the people of Abonnema need dearly is landÂ reclamation, to enable them have more space to expand, and called on the Amanyanabo of AbonnemaÂ and his council of Chiefs to choose a site for the state government for the on landÂ reclamation.
â€œNo matter the amount of pressure on government, the point remains that the most importantÂ thing you need is land for the expansion of the community,â€ Amaechi stated.
Responding to a question during the interactive session, the governor said the state governmentÂ does not share political positions for the people, but advised that smaller communities beÂ carried along to enable them have a sense of belonging.
On security, he commended the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) for the restoration of peace inÂ the area, and promised that government would tackle the new wave of piracy in the Soku and KulaÂ axis of the state.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Hon. Paul Awoyesuku, said theÂ people of the area are happy with the governorâ€™s style of leadership, particularly hisÂ monumental developmental drive throughout the state.
The visit to Akuku Toru afforded the governor the opportunity to inspect facilities at theÂ Sombriero Naval outpost at Abonnema, Commission the new Council Secretariat built by theÂ Chairman as well as pay a courtesy call on the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King MorganÂ Opuaru-Udokubo Bob-Manuel at his palace.
Meanwhile, the governmentÂ has approved the release of the sum of N9 billion for the take offÂ of the state Rural ElectrificationÂ Programme that will supply power to allÂ local communitiesÂ in the state.
To fast tract the process, the state Executive Council has directed the Ministry of Finance toÂ release N2.7 billion immediately representing 30 per cent of the total value of the scheme, toÂ the Ministry of Power for the commencement of the project.
The Commissioner for Power, Mr. Augustine Wokocha, disclosed this Wednesday night whileÂ briefing Government House Correspondents on the outcome of the State Executive Council meetingÂ in Port Harcourt.
Mr Wokocha said Exco equally directed the Ministry of Power to immediately kick-start theÂ project by taking one community after another, to ensure proper monitoring and coordination.
According to him, â€œit was resolved that the contract should not be awarded generally, andÂ should not be done in a haphazard manner, rather anywhere we start we will take it to itsÂ logical conclusion before taking up the next group of Communities.”
The Commissioner for Power also said Exco encouraged Rivers people and residents of the stateÂ to embrace the â€œRiv-Green Projectâ€ by planting grasses and flowers around their compound, toÂ make them green for a healthier environment.
He hinted also that Exco approved the allocation of a piece of land for the building of aÂ plastic recycling plant in the state, in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria,Â and directed the Commissioner for Lands and Survey to make land available for the project.
According to Wokocha, the project when completed and functional would create numerousÂ employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
â€”Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt