Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State says his administration plans to launch its  free education policy on October 1, 2010.

Rotimi Amechi.

Governor Amaechi who disclosed this in Abonnema during a Town Hall meeting with the people of  the Local Government area, said the free education and health care policy would be dependent on  the passage of the bill “Social Contributory Levy” by the State House of Assembly.

He said the bill would require parents to pay a certain amount of money to complement what the  state government would provide to enable the students that would gain admission into the new  model secondary schools enjoy free uniforms, sandals, books and feeding.

According to him, “if the schools charge fees, many poor parents cannot afford to send their  wards to the school, and urged the people to plead with their representatives to consider the  importance of the bill to the common citizens and pass it into law.

He  remarked that in addition, the state government would also in October inaugurate its  Songhai Model Farm to enable those trained by the state in Benin Republic practice the skill  they have acquired.

On the ongoing construction of Model Primary Schools and Health Centres, the governor assured  the people that contract for the remaining ones would be awarded before the end of September  2010, while those yet to be completed would be monitored to ensure early completion.

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Governor Amaechi observed that another project the people of Abonnema need dearly is land  reclamation, to enable them have more space to expand, and called on the Amanyanabo of Abonnema  and his council of Chiefs to choose a site for the state government for the on land  reclamation.

“No matter the amount of pressure on government, the point remains that the most important  thing you need is land for the expansion of the community,” Amaechi stated.

Responding to a question during the interactive session, the governor said the state government  does not share political positions for the people, but advised that smaller communities be  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 in  the area, and promised that government would tackle the new wave of piracy in the Soku and Kula  axis of the state.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Hon. Paul Awoyesuku, said the  people of the area are happy with the governor’s style of leadership, particularly his  monumental developmental drive throughout the state.

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The visit to Akuku Toru afforded the governor the opportunity to inspect facilities at the  Sombriero Naval outpost at Abonnema, Commission the new Council Secretariat built by the  Chairman as well as pay a courtesy call on the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Morgan  Opuaru-Udokubo Bob-Manuel at his palace.

Meanwhile, the government  has approved the release of the sum of N9 billion for the take off  of the state Rural Electrification  Programme that will supply power to all  local communities  in the state.

To fast tract the process, the state Executive Council has directed the Ministry of Finance to  release N2.7 billion immediately representing 30 per cent of the total value of the scheme, to  the Ministry of Power for the commencement of the project.

The Commissioner for Power, Mr. Augustine Wokocha, disclosed this Wednesday night while  briefing Government House Correspondents on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting  in Port Harcourt.

Mr Wokocha said Exco equally directed the Ministry of Power to immediately kick-start the  project by taking one community after another, to ensure proper monitoring and coordination.

According to him, “it was resolved that the contract should not be awarded generally, and  should not be done in a haphazard manner, rather anywhere we start we will take it to its  logical conclusion before taking up the next group of Communities.”

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The Commissioner for Power also said Exco encouraged Rivers people and residents of the state  to embrace the “Riv-Green Project” by planting grasses and flowers around their compound, to  make them green for a healthier environment.

He hinted also that Exco approved the allocation of a piece of land for the building of a  plastic recycling plant in the state, in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria,  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 numerous  employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.

—Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt