Monday, December 2, 2013
Water Project: Amaechi Wants House to Summon Okonjo-Iweala
House of Representatives to summon the Coordinating Minister for the
Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister
of Water Resources, Mrs. Stella Ochekpe, with a view to investigating
the circumstances surrounding the seizure of the World Bank and
African Development Bank (ADB) loans approved by the National Assembly
for the provision of potable water in the state.
Amaechi told members of the House Committee on Water Resources, who
were accompanied by executive directors of the Niger Delta Basin
Development Authority who visited him in Port Harcourt that the state
government was surprised by the delay by the ministers to allow the
project to take off.
He said the state government had fulfilled all requirements to benefit
from the loan scheme with the World Bank and ADB, saying that his
administration is ready to allow Okonjo-Iweala to award the contract
for the project to any person of her choice to provide potable water
for the people.
According to him, "The people who are dying and deprived of the
potable water are Rivers people who don't have water in their homes.
"In fact, if you whisper to those agencies (World Bank and ADB) that
she (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) has refused to sign-off, a woman of that
international standard, they would be surprised. Maybe she wants to
join the fray of quarrel. It is like two wives quarreling over a
husband. It is embarrassing, completely embarrassing for somebody who
has been managing director of World Bank to neglect the impact water
has on the citizenry. We are prepared to allow the Minister of Finance
(Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) to award the contract to any person she wants
to. We are only interested in the provision of potable water for our
people. The National Assembly has approved it, and we have fulfilled
all requirements with the World Bank and African Development Bank
(ADB). We are now at the point of release of the funds for execution
of the water projects for our people, and she (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala)
has refused to allow the release of the funds to us."
The governor explained the implications of the seizure of the funds by
Okonjo-Iweala, which he said was done to undermine his
administration's commitment to improve the welfare of the people.
"Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is using her position to undermine the safety
and health of the people of Rivers State. I can't afford to give all
Rivers people bottled water, but all I can assure you is to ensure the
provision of potable water and the Minister of Finance has refused to
release funds and I think, I should put that before you (House
Committee on Water Resources). They want Rivers people to die. We can
do an assessment of people who have been infected with water borne
diseases if she wants to do that, so she can see what she is doing to
Rivers people," Amaechi added.
Earlier, Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources , Hon.
Aliyu Ahman Pategi, said the committee was in the state as part of its
oversight functions to verify the execution of various water projects
of House members and senators and to ensure the nation got value for
money for the projects.
While also appreciating the people of the state for their loyalty
and commitment to the Amaechi administration, Aliyu commended the
governor on the giant strides and remarkable achievements of his
administration in the provision of modern infrastructure and speedy
development in the state.