By G9ija

Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Friday, commissioned three projects as part of activities commemorating his first year in office.

The projects include a state-of-the-art automated incinerator at the Bayelsa Medical University (BMU) complex, a 50-bed referral hospital at Kaiama in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area and a bridge at Imiringi community in Ogbia Local Government Area. The bridge was destroyed by flood in 2012.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary,  Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying while commissioning the incinerator that the waste management facility would be a public, private partnership to drive revenue for the state.

He said the project would complete the circle of waste management and transform them into a money-making venture and manpower development for youths in the state.

Governor Diri also hinted that an executive bill to regulate waste management would be sent to the state House of Assembly as a prelude to the Bayelsa State Healthcare Waste Law.

He charged Bayelsans to turn a new leaf in waste disposal and join hands with government in the new initiative to transform wastes into revenue.

He commended the BMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, for the bright idea geared towards diversification of the state economy.

Speaking earlier, Prof. Etebu said the need to address major challenges associated with waste disposal like environmental degradation and public health concerns gave birth to the incinerator.

He expressed the hope that a special waste legislation for regulatory framework would make Bayelsa blaze the trail in curtailing the menace of hazardous waste disposal.

At the referral hospital in Kaiama, Governor Diri assured that his government would work assiduously to bring healthcare services closer to the people.

He described the facility, which was started by the administration of late Melford Okilo in the old Rivers State and revived by his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, as massive.

Diri noted that the immediate past governor executed 60 per cent of the project while his administration completed and equipped it.

He directed the Ministry of Health to ensure completion of all referral hospitals across the state and put them to use this fiscal year.

His words: “The referral hospital was started by the Melford Okilo administration and the previous government continued with the project. That is why I was more determined to complete and commission it. The Commissioner for Health practically relocated to Kaiama for one month to ensure its completion.

“I also thank Hon.Tonye Isenah for being part of the history of the access road to the hospital. The previous administration replicated this referral hospital in all the local government areas. I hereby direct the Commissioner for Health to ensure that all of them are completed and put to use not later than this fiscal year.”

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Newton Igwele, said the present government completed the referral hospital within three weeks as they worked round the clock to ensure it was commissioned.