By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT— Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr Tony Okocha, has called on Rivers people to ignore allegations by the Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, that Governor Rotimi Amaechi misappropriated N7.5 billion meant for construction of the 1000-bed space Adolphus Karibi White Hospital.
Okocha said in Port Harcourt, yesterday, that the hospital project was ongoing, adding that Wike had developed a penchant for maligning the governor with unsubstantiated claims.
He said if the minister was in doubt over any state government project, he should feel free to consult the line ministries handling them.
He said: “My answer is simple. Wike is well aware of how projects of this nature are handled. The company proposing to handle the job comes before cabinet where members are at liberty to ask questions. The governor aggregates the views. Once approval is made, the line ministry follows up the process until the point of release of funds.
“If Wike is at a loss, he should refer the matter to the Commissioner, Ministry of Health. He is speaking out of ignorance. The job is ongoing. He just wants to malign the governor otherwise he knows the process. As we speak, that project is ongoing. It was not designed for completion in a one month or a year.”
I didn’t pocket N2bn —Wike
Meantime, Wike has said he did not pocket N2 billion allegedly released for construction of 14 model primary schools in Obio Akpor Local Government Area while he was Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt in the first term of Amaechi.
Wike, who spoke in Port Harcourt, weekend, when people of Evo Kingdom in his Obio Akpor council visited him at his Port Harcourt residence, said it was not true that he was given such money to construct schools.
He said if it was true that he pocketed such money, the governor would have ordered his arrest. He wondered why the governor would still have nominated him for ministerial appointment if he was certain he was a dubious character.
Governor Amaechi had during a recent visit to Rumuomasi charged the people to ask Wike to explain why 14 model primary schools valued at N2 billion meant for Obio Akpor council were not constructed.