Rivers State House of Assembly has approved a request by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, seeking to access ten billion naira (N10bn) from the federal government bailout funds.
The governor, through a letter captioned: “Notification of Intention to Apply for Bailout Funds from the Federal Government”, explained that the money will be used to pay salaries for civil servants and pensioners in the state. According to the letter, it has become difficult for the state government to meet its salaries obligation to civil servants and pensioners due to decline in federal government allocation.
The letter read in part: “The purpose of this letter is to formally notify the state House of Assembly of our intention to apply for bailout funds from the federal government to meet our salaries and pensions obligations.
“Recall that last year the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, on the initiative of the National Economic Council, approved bailout funds to enable states defray backlog of salaries to civil servants and pensioners. Although most of the states immediately applied and got the funds, Rivers State tried to go without recourse to this facility.
“However, with the continuous decline in allocation to the state from the federation account fund fixed at N3.5billion only, it is now getting increasingly difficult for us to meet our salary obligation to civil servants and pensioners. It has therefore become necessary and urgent for the Rivers State government to also take advantage of federal government bailout funds to enable us meet our salary obligations to civil servants and pensioners.
“Consequently, it is our intention to apply to the Central Bank of Nigeria, for the sum of ten billion naira (N10,000,000,000.00) only, from the federal government bail out funds on the same terms and conditions that were accorded to other states.”
Commenting on the letter, the Speaker, Rt Hon Adams Dabotoru Dima, stated that the fall of crude oil prices in the international market has affected the federal government’s income, and by extension, that of the state. He, therefore, called on lawmakers to contribute constructively.
Debating, House Whip, Hon Evans Bipi, Leader, Hon Martins Amaewhule and lawmaker representing Oyigbo constituency, Hon Chisom Promise, supported the approval of the letter.
According to Bipi, there is the need for the state government to benefit from the funds as it accrues from the excess crude for which Rivers State is a major contributor.
The House later went ahead to re-elect Hon Martin Amaewhule and Hon Major Jack, whose elections were earlier nullified as Leader and Deputy Whip of the House, respectively, and adjourned to May 24.

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