Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike on Wednesday pledged that he will make available the sum of N500 million for the reconstruction of a market gutted by fire in Sokoto.
Wike, made the pledge on behalf of the State government during a visit to the Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Wednesday.
The Governor who was conducted round the market which was burnt on Tuesday by his host, Governor Tambuwal, said he was saddened by the devastating fire that razed over 60 percent of the 16,000 shops in the market.
“We have come here to commiserate and sympathise with our brother, our friend and the good people of Sokoto State on what had happened to one of the biggest market in this country, the Sokoto central market.
“When I got the information last night, I was touched and I said as brothers, what affects you affects us. What affects Sokoto State affects Rivers State,” said Wike while empathizing with traders at the market over their losses.
He however thanked God that no life was lost in the disastrous inferno.
“There is nothing you can equate with life. That there was no life lost, we give glory to the almighty Allah. Having come here, I’ve seen the level of destruction, it is unfortunate. People have lost their goods, the state government will have to see how this market will be brought back to the way it is supposed to be.
“We sympathise with you. We identify with you and we know the negative effect on the economy of the various families; families who depend for day to day trading and sale of their goods .”
Wike expressed his appreciation to the various security and paramilitary agencies that prevented the fire from destroying the entire market.
He pledged that the government of Rivers State will support Sokoto State to rebuild the market and ameliorate the plight of the traders with N500 million.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Rivers State, we will support the Sokoto State government to see how quickly they can rebuild this market” he added.
Tambuwal thanked Governor Wike and the people of Rivers State for the kind gesture.
Wike also paid a courtesy visit to the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar in his palace to commiserate with him over the demise of junior brother, Hon. Abdulkadir Jeli Abubakar, who was Sokoto State Commissioner for Home Affairs.
In his response, Sultan Abubakar, acknowledged the age-long relationship between Sokoto and Rivers State and lauded to Governor Wike for sustaining it.
He explained that Wike’s visit and pledge to support Sokoto State is a demonstration of what Nigeria is and should be.
The Sultan further commended Governor Wike for his remarkable developmental stride in Rivers State.
“I commend you and congratulate you for all what you have been doing for Rivers state in particular, because we have seen a lot of infrastructure being put in place and that is why they call you Mr project in Rivers.
“You have just some few more years, please do much more so that nobody will beat you when he take over from you
Similarly, the Sultan lauded Governor Tambuwal for his judicious management of the state resources which earned the State a World Bank grant under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability And Sustainability (SFTAS) program.