By Egufe Yafugborhi, PORT HARCOURT
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike on Wednesday announced a pledge of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500m) as Rivers State Government support towards rebuilding the Sokoto Central Market gutted by fire on Tuesday and to assist affected traders to get back on their feet.
Wike, during a visit to his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal, expressed sadness over the devastating fire that razed over 60 per cent of the 16000 shops with goods worth billions of naira.
He said, “We have come to commiserate and sympathise with our brother, our friend and the good people of Sokoto on what had happened to one of the biggest markets in this country.
“When I got the information last night, I was touched and I said as brothers, what affects you affects us. What affects Sokoto State affects Rivers State.”
“There is nothing you can equate with life. That there was no life lost, we give glory to Almighty Allah. Having come here, I’ve seen the level of destruction. People have lost their goods, the state government will have to see how this market will be brought back to the way it is supposed to be.
“We sympathise with you. We identify with you and we know the negative effect on the economy of the various families; families who depend for day to day trading and sales of their goods .”
He pledged that the government of Rivers State will support Sokoto State to rebuild the market and ameliorate the plight of the traders with N500 million.
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“On behalf of the government and the people of Rivers State, we will support the Sokoto State government to see how quickly they can rebuild this market” he added.
Governor Tambuwal thanked Governor Wike and the people of Rivers State for the kind gesture.
Governor Wike also visited the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar to commiserate with him over the demise of junior brother, Abdulkadir Jeli Abubakar, who was Sokoto State Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Sultan Abubakar acknowledged the age-long relationship between Sokoto and Rivers State and lauded to Governor Wike for sustaining it.
“I commend you and congratulate you for all you have been doing for Rivers in particular because we have seen a lot of infrastructure being put in place and that is why they call you Mr Projects in Rivers.
“You have just some few more years, please do much more so that nobody will beat you when he takes over from you.”
Similarly, the Sultan lauded Governor Tambuwal for his judicious management of the state resources which earned the State a World Bank grant under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability And Sustainability (SFTAS) program.