By G9ija

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, yesterday, cautioned state governments against using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for failing to work and invest in infrastructure development to boost their economies and engender prosperity.

He stated that roads are more important than agriculture, stressing: “Agriculture cannot thrive without good roads. Without roads, how can agricultural produce be transported to the cities and markets? So, you must provide basic infrastructure to enhance investments inflow.”

Governor Wike stated this during a tour of the new Government House Hospital and Administrative Building in Port Harcourt with Senate Chief Whip and former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.

Wike said Rivers State would not join states that hide under the COVID-19 pandemic to deny their people basic infrastructure like roads, which are universally acknowledged as major contributors to higher economic productivity, growth and trade.

Governor Wike explained that his administration had been investing in quality infrastructure that would have positive economic impact, stimulate jobs creation and boost foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the state.

He stated that in the midst of the pandemic, the state government on Wednesday approved two additional flyovers at N12.4b to Julius Berger Plc, saying investment in such projects had been made possible by judicious application of state’s resources to meet the peoples pressing needs.

“We should manage what we have for the peoples interest. Infrastructure brings investments. Part of the problem in this country today is the decay of infrastructure. We don’t have good infrastructure and that affects investments inflow. So, when roads are built, people will come in. You don’t expect private investors to construct roads for you. It is not possible,” he added.x

He also blamed rising insecurity in the country to political inference in the posting of Commissioners of Police.

Governor Wike said it was disheartening that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) would compromise competence in posting a Commissioner of Police (CP) to Rivers State because a politician seeking favours had approached him for patronage.

After inspecting the Government House Hospital and Administrative Building, Kalu said Governor Wike’s investment in crucial infrastructure was commendable.

“All the facilities in the hospital are first class. I can’t even see this quality in Europe, because the doctors’ room, the conference centre and others are excellent. I commend Governor Wike. I am a bipartisan person. We need to commend anybody who has done well,” he said.