Governors Preach Love, Tolerance In New Year Messages

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A combination of file photos of governors of 12 states.

 

As Nigerians join the rest of the world to usher in 2022, governors in various states have congratulated the people in their various states on the occasion of the new year celebration.

From the North to the South, to the East and West, the chief executives of the states conveyed their goodwill messages in statements while others addressed the residents in state broadcasts.

Following another pandemic-ridden year accompanied by rising cases of COVID, insecurity, and economic challenges among others, the governors asked the people not to lose hope in the country.

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Spirit For Survival

In a statement by his spokesman, Nathaniel Ikyur, Governor Samuel Ortom praised the people of Benue State and Nigerians for their resilience in the face of daunting security and economic challenges in the past year.

He believed the people have demonstrated their indomitable spirit for survival against unabating security and the harsh economic situation compounded by the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

“The year 2021 was no doubt challenging,” he said. “But I’m happy our people rose to the occasion. The lessons of the past year will serve as a useful instrument that will guide us to fruition in the years ahead.”

A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

Governor Ortom thanked the Benue people who stood by him through thick and thin, promising that their interest, welfare, and well-being would remain his firm commitment, mission, and purpose throughout the days of his administration.

He assured them that his administration would continue to implement policies, programmes, and projects that have a direct and positive impact on them.

The governor, however, urged the people to be vigilant against terrorists who have continued to wreck communities and displace people from their ancestral lands.

He encouraged individuals and groups to ensure that they cooperate with the security agencies so as to keep the state free from criminal activities of terrorist gangs, saying, “In doing so, you must endeavour to give useful information to government through security operatives in order to nip any threat in the bud”.

For the governor, this is necessary to ensure a smooth and orderly society as the nation approaches the 2023 general elections. He reminded the electorate to make informed and right choices during the elections.

He promised them that his administration would leave Benue State better than he met it and wished the residents a peaceful and prosperous new year.

Keep Hope Alive

On his part, Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, assured the people of the state of a glorious and eventful 2022, with a promise of a full crystallization of a vision started over six years ago.

He stated that given the aggressive industrialisation drive of his administration which began barely one year into office, the state was already on an irreversible path to economic prosperity and greatness.

Thanking the people for their fidelity and unwavering support for his administration in the past years, the governor urged them to embrace the new year with steadfastness, faith, and hope.

He maintained that his administration has been able to firmly secure the future of the state through massive industrialisation with the establishment of industries across the state.

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

 

Governor Ayade called on residents to put the state above narrow considerations and not allow self-seeking politicians to manipulate them for their selfish end.

He also urged them to keep hope alive, wished them a refreshing and fulfilling new year, and asked them not to be complacent in complying with the COVID-19 protocols, especially in the face of the fast-spreading variant – omicron.

Better Days

In Adamawa, Governor Umaru Fintiri called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness, love, reconciliation, and re-dedication to the service of God and humanity in the year 2022.

“The end of the year and the beginning of a new one provides us all with an opportunity for reflection and introspection, as well as to plan,” he said in a statement. “But most importantly, it is a time to give thanks to the Almighty God for the gift and for his care and provision to all of us.”

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While wishing the people of Adamawa a happy, safe and prosperous 2022, the governor noted the plans and efforts of the government.

“We thank God for bringing us safely to the end of an eventful year. As we celebrate the end of an extraordinary year and look forward with hope to personal, state, and national progress in 2022, I urge you to be more committed to the Adamawa project and support our plans for the economic development of the state, as we intend to do more in terms of infrastructural renewal, human capital development, and welfare of our people,” he added.

A file photo of Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri.

 

“Looking back on the achievements and milestones made in the course of 2021, I know that there are those among us who have had a very difficult year, either economically or through personal tragedies such as the loss of loved ones, or those battling illnesses and other troubling situations.

“To you, it is my hope and prayer that the new year will usher in better days for you and for all of us”.

The governor specifically praised healthcare givers as the world battles the omicron COVID-19 variant and encouraged people to be vaccinated against the pandemic.

‘We Emerged Victorious’

“The year 2021 was historic for Ndi Imo, partly with the wrong reasons but largely, for the remarkable records, we have achieved in tackling challenges that confronted us as a state,” Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State said in his New Year message.

He added, “Despite the distorted flow of governance, we sailed through with dedication, commitment and progression. All these were made feasible by the unflinching support and resilience of Ndi Imo, which I do not take for granted. Through thick and thin, we emerged victorious to the glory of God Almighty and his grace shall abound in this new year.

“Having recorded tremendous results in the restoration of peace and tranquillity in our dear state, it is now time to tackle development head-on. The expectations of Ndi Imo in this regard, shall not be cut short for we have set in motion, mechanisms to actualise these.

A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

 

“From the foregoing, I, therefore, welcome Ndi Imo nile to the year 2022. Having signed into law, the People’s Budget of 2022 as appropriated by the people’s representatives, the implementation shall reflect the developmental and economic expectations of Ndi Imo in this 2022.

“As we offer thanksgiving to the Lord for His faithfulness and mercies, let us endeavour to be a reflection of His goodness in our society and to our neighbours, for in a harmonious and peaceful cohabitation, development thrives faster.

“I celebrate Ndi Imo nile and welcome you, once again, to the year 2022, with compliments.”

Show Optimism

In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Bello called on the residents to continue to have hope and trust in the ability of his administration to work for the progress, growth, and development of the state.

The governor said the state government would work towards the successful actualisation of its programmes and policies as captured in the 2022 budget.

He urged the people to show optimism and be encouraged by the fact that his administration would not relent in sustaining the ongoing infrastructural revolution aimed at improving the general well-being of the people.

Governor Bello also spoke about the government’s fight against insecurity and renewed the call for the strict observance of all precautionary measures against the COVID-19 virus.

A file photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

According to him, the security of the state will remain his administration’s major focus in the new year in order to stop banditry and other criminal tendencies towards sustaining the relatively peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the state.

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While felicitating with the people, the governor praised the gallantry of the military and all security agencies involved in the fight against insecurity and appealed to the people to play their roles to ensure success in the battle against evil.

“As we celebrate the new year, we must put the interest of the state over and above other considerations and work towards attaining our collective aspirations,” he said.

Lessons Learned

Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, on his part, urged the people of the state to reflect and draw on the lessons learned in the preceding year in all aspects of human endeavours and continue to work for peace and unity, as well as security and development of the state and the country as the new year begins.

He projected that 2022 will offer the citizenry a new vista and opportunity to renew their faith in God, as he urged them to look to the future with optimism.

The governor also expressed optimism that the year 2022 would be a bright and prosperous one for both the state and Nigeria.

He acknowledged the resilience and perseverance of the people of the state in the midst of socio-economic difficulties, insecurity, and the global pandemic of COVID-19 and its consequential effects and asked them to maintain the undying spirit and enter 2022 with hope and renewed faith.

A file photo of Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya.

 

While urging the people to continue to live in peace with one another, he assured them of continued support and cooperation with security agencies to combat all forms of criminal activities in the state.

He congratulated the citizenry for seeing the end of 2021 and stepping into the new year in high spirits and encouraged them to continue to work hard enough and show resilience in order to overcome the challenges and emerge stronger.

“The year 2022 holds a great promise for all of us through improved security, youths and women empowerment, and greater attention to infrastructure and socio-economic development across all sectors,” he said.

“As we enter the new year, I call on all of us to draw on the lessons learned in 2021 in all aspects of human endeavours and continue to work assiduously for the peace, progress, security, and development of the state.”

Spirit Of Love

In his New Year message, Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, asked residents to continuously collaborate with security agencies to root out criminals anywhere they are hiding in the state.

He urged the Presidency and the National Assembly to work together to create an Electoral Act that would make elections in Nigeria transparent and acceptable.

While giving security operatives a pat on the back for vehemently fighting crime in the state, the governor urged them to deploy their eagle eyes as political activities take off this year.

A file photo of Taraba state Governor, Darius Ishaku.
A file photo of Taraba state Governor, Darius Ishaku.

 

“Taraba State has had a very interesting year in 2021 and the good Lord has been able to see us through despite the challenges therein,” he said. “Today, our new year resolution should be to make a solemn pledge to the descent citizens by providing our fair share no matter how small to our beloved state, a better place for everybody which can only be accomplished if we stick to the law and inculcate the spirit of love and togetherness and being our brother’s keeper.

“Our watchword should be security awareness as last year I had the opportunity of donating Toyota Hilux vans to security operatives in order to properly carry out their surveillance of the state. Everybody has a civic duty to cooperate and provide relevant information to security agencies as they have made substantial contributions to the reduction of armed banditry, farmers, herders crisis, tribal feud, kidnapping, and, therefore, needs our cooperation in the run-up to 2023 general elections.”

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Governor Ishaku added, “Political activities will pick up significantly in 2022, all political parties will hold primaries to select candidates for various political positions and as a result, I employ individuals who intend to run for office to exercise restraint. Let us play the game by the rules so that the will of the people is respected and protected at the end of the day.

“I would also like to appeal to religious leaders, traditional rulers, parents and guardians to keep a tight grip on the youth so that they do not become agents of instability in the hands of misguided individuals seeking power at all cost.”

The governor also assured residents of the state that his administration would continuously provide democratic dividends and complete all existing projects before the conclusion of his tenure next year.

Promise Of Good Governance

Similarly, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos also with the people of the state a prosperous new year with a promise of good governance.

He said, “As we draw the curtains on 2021, we should be reminded of life’s lessons. Events that shaped our lives, and experiences that will be entrenched in our memories forever.

“We must however be thankful for God’s infinite goodness and mercies throughout the past year. Despite the raging pandemic which has crippled many economies, we’re still standing strong and trudging along. Our resilience heightened and our faith unshaken, we made it through 2021.”

A photo taken on August 23, 2021, shows Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at a press briefing.

 

“As your Governor, I salute you all and reassure you of my heart of service and spirit of candour. I will continue to be giving of myself, in spite of misconceptions. I will continue to deliver good governance and provide purposeful leadership to everyone in Lagos.

“We will as a Government, continue to deliver infrastructural developments that will improve the quality of life of residents, such that generations yet unborn will be partakers of the good fortune of Lagos. So, help us God. On behalf of my family and the Government of Lagos State, I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year!” the governor added.

Prayer For Peace

Unlike his counterparts, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State joined the Christian faithful for a special crossover service at the St. Peters Cathedral Church in Ake, Abeokuta.

In his message, he promised deliberate and purposeful initiatives for economic recovery through his administration’s economic blueprint.

A file photo of Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun. Twitter/@dabiodunMFR

 

The governor said efforts would be intensified in the areas of the independent power projects, mass transportation, education, security, critical infrastructure, and healthcare delivery to bring a new lease of life to residents.

While asking residents to continue to live together in peace and harmony, he called for more prayers for his administration, the political leaders, and the country in general for peace and development.

Reducing Poverty

In Kwara, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq congratulated the people of the state and Nigerians on the new calendar year.

He assured residents of his administration’s continuous focus on projects and programmes that would boost inclusive growth, reduce poverty, and create a better environment for sustainable job opportunities in the state.

The governor explained that the administration’s Budget of Sustained Reformation for Inclusive Growth has been designed to double down on the achievements and reforms in the education sector, healthcare, workers’ welfare, water supply, ease of doing business, a safety net for the poor, access roads within the metropolis and across the state, as well as improved investments and partnership with the security agencies, civic community, and the traditional institutions to guarantee the safety of lives and properties.

“At the dawn of 2022, I call on our people to continue to support the administration’s policies and programmes to place Kwara on the path of sustainable growth,” he said.

A file photo of Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

 

“Our major selling point has been peace and tranquillity, and I urge that we should continue to relate with one another as one people bound by a common destiny under God. This year, as always, let us watch over one another and work for a greater Kwara and Nigeria, irrespective of our differences.”

The governors of Edo and Rivers, Godwin Obaseki and Nyesom Wike, also have a series of messages for the people of their states.

More Opportunities

As we usher in 2022, let us thank God Almighty that we are able to witness the beginning of another year. In spite of the challenges and uncertainties experienced in 2021, there is a lot which we should be grateful to God Almighty for.

Despite witnessing two waves of COVID-19 in 2021, the mortality rate which we recorded in Edo State was far less than was projected. This persisting COVID pandemic is a clarion call for us to pay more attention to our environment and also strengthen our healthcare system.

Consequently, the reform of our healthcare system is now a very high priority in our ongoing transformation of the entire governance structure of Edo State. Confident that Edo citizens will continue to subscribe to the Edo Health Insurance Scheme which will provide the long-term funds to sustain our new healthcare system, we are now revamping 100 additional primary healthcare facilities while building our network of specialist hospitals in the three senatorial districts.

Our healthcare reform in Edo will also include encouragement of the private sector to invest in providing quality healthcare. We are encouraged with the progress in our transformation of the public service, and we are confident that with the ongoing recruitments, introduction of technology, and the emphasis on training, our citizens will begin to receive better quality services from their government.

The construction and rehabilitation of roads are currently going on across the state. Even though the extended rainy season delayed the commencement of work, we are optimistic that significant portions of work will be completed before the next rainy season.

A file photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

 

We are also focusing on other infrastructure such as electricity and fibre connection. Our operation Light Up Edo is in full gear with the streetlighting project being rolled out in Benin City, Ekpoma, and Auchi. We are working with a private provider to connect all our 18 local government areas with fibre optic connections to enhance access to the internet and expand the digital economy across the state.

The physical and digital infrastructure we are laying across the state, including the proposed Airport in Edo North, will position Edo State as a major commercial hub in Nigeria and West Africa. Investing in our people will continue to be a priority in 2022 as we roll out the EdoBEST framework to all tiers of education in the state.

We are building shared production facilities in 6 technical colleges across the state to support the technical training of our youths while promoting technical entrepreneurship in these communities.

The successful take-off of the Edo Tech Park with the graduation of the first set of highly trained software engineers and developers has spurred us to commence the construction of the permanent site for the Edo Tech Park. We hope the first phase will be ready for use in 2022, thus ensuring Edo’s position as a tech hub on the African continent.

In addition to exposing them to technology, we are supporting our youths in entrepreneurship and innovation to seize the moment and build top-of-the-range capacity to compete with their peers globally.

We are expending resources to boost opportunities in the creative industry with the establishment of the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Soundstage. As a government, we will continue to deepen our development strides following the gains made in the last five years.

Our emphasis will continue to remain on building capacity, deploying technology, promoting innovation, enhancing the growth of the productive sector, and leveraging our Diaspora population to drive sustainable development.

In the new year, we are recommitting ourselves to deepen growth across all sectors of the state and providing more opportunities for our people to realise their full potential. These we will do by leveraging the innate abilities of our people and providing them with the tools and enablement to dominate and conquer the world.

Let me appreciate and commend the effort and services of all our security agencies particularly our vigilante network who continue to work and sacrifice to keep us safe.

Our relative success in securing Edo particularly in the last few months is the result of the collaborative effort of these agencies. Our support will be extended in the new year to the training of our vigilante network in the Nigeria Police Force training facilities in Ogida Barracks which has been refurbished by the Edo State Government.

In the areas of agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, energy, electricity, healthcare, education, and security, we are changing the way government works and delivers services to Edo people.

As we fulfill this mandate to you, we urge you all to live up to your own civic responsibility by paying your taxes. We are revamping our tax administration system to make it easy for you to pay your taxes with the use of technology.

We urge all Edo people to approach the new year with renewed hope in our political system. Our goal is to make sure that in Edo, democracy has full expression and we only vote for candidates with demonstrated evidence to add value to our society.

I reassure the good people of Edo State that I will continue to strive to do only that which is in the best interest of Edo State and Edo people.

I wish you all a happy and safe 2022.

His Excellency,

Godwin Obaseki

Governor, Edo State

 

Effective Environmental Sanitation

A STATE-WIDE BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE TO MARK THE 2022 NEW YEAR

My dear people of Rivers State

  1. As the clock ticks down and as we look forward to ushering in the New Year 2022, this is the time to give thanks to the Almighty God for his blessings and the opportunity to look into the future with greater hope and optimism.
  2. On behalf of my wife and the Government, let me thank all Rivers State citizens in particular, and Nigerians in general, for your continued love and support to our administration throughout the year 2021.
  3. Indeed, we cannot thank you enough for the trust, the solidarity, the cooperation, and above all, your prayers for the success of our government and the peace and progress of our State.
  4. We also thank the police, the department of state security, the armed forces, and the paramilitary services for working round the clock to make and keep our dear State peaceful, safe, and secure, not only in this festive season but throughout the outgoing year.
  5. Indeed, there is no denying the fact that crime and criminality have been at very low rates in Rivers State and citizens felt safer and more secure in 2021 than in the previous years.
  6. With the cooperation of the security agencies, we identified and destroyed most of the shanties that hitherto served as safe havens and hideouts for criminals, who have now been dislodged and dislocated from the State, having lost the space and capacity from which they could operate with ease.
  7. To consolidate on the gains of the dislodgement and dislocation exercises, and make the State even safer and more secure, we have decided to demolish all shanties and makeshift structures in identified crime hotspots in Port Harcourt Township and the Illabuchi areas of Diobu from the second week of January 2022.
  8. Those rebuilding the shanties we had demolished at Eleme or attempting to resume illegal trading activities at the closed Oginigba slaughter have one week to vacate or be arrested and charged to court.
  9. Additionally, we have discovered that most vacant plots or uncompleted buildings in the Old and New Government Reservation Areas (GRA) and some other parts of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas have been hijacked and are now inhabited by criminal elements who are daily constituting a menace to public safety.
  10. We have therefore decided to end this danger by taking over all such abandoned plots and uncompleted buildings and re-allocate them to citizens who are ready to develop and put them into effective occupancy.
  11. In a similar vein, we have revoked the certificates of occupancy of several undeveloped plots of land in old GRA, Port Harcourt, for breaching the covenants attached thereto, which we would also re-allocate to interested members of the public for immediate development as part of the ongoing efforts to restore the entire old GRA to its pristine state of development, beauty, and serenity.
  12. We will also not spare those contributing to the perennial flooding challenge in parts of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor Local Government Area by blocking natural water and drainage channels with illegal landfilling, reclamation of wetlands, or the construction of concrete structures.
  13. Consequently, we shall recover and restore all landfilled or reclaimed wetlands and demolish all structures erected on natural water channels spanning from the Eastern bypass areas up to Abana and Eleme streets in Old GRA, Port Harcourt. Only those with genuine government permits and allocation papers will be duly compensated.
  14. Again, it is important to appreciate what we have done to successfully transform our capital city, Port Harcourt, to one of the most beautiful cities in Nigeria with well-paved streets, pedestrian walkways, dual carriage roads, and flyovers.
  15. However, the beauty of the city is being defaced by illegal and indiscriminate trading on our streets, under flyovers, and other unauthorized open spaces as well as the challenges with the current largely inefficient refuse disposal system.
  16. I wish to therefore remind citizens that the ban on street trading and commuting on motorcycles in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas is still in force.
  17. Consequently, I hereby direct the task force on Illegal Street trading to arrest and prosecute all those:
File photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

(i) shuttling with their motorcycles and or hawking foreign exchange along Birabi street, Hotel Presidential, GRA junction by Zenith Bank up to Tombia street; and

(ii)  trading on, under, and around the Rumuola junction and flyover; Rumuogba junction and flyover; as well as Rumuokoro junction and flyover.

  1. Security personnel abetting illegal Street trading by collecting bribes and offering protection to street vendors are advised to desist forthwith or they would equally be made to face the wrath of the law.

  2. Furthermore, we have decided to end the menace of cart-pushers who have become notorious for indiscriminate scavenging and littering of wastes on street corners and the medians of major roads and highways across the State.

  3. These cart pushers and their unknown collaborators are also responsible for the recurring stealing of manhole covers, an act that endangers peoples’ lives and public safety on our roads.

  4. Consequently, the State Government has placed an immediate ban on the activities of cart pushers and directs law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute anyone who attempts to violate this ban.

  5. In addition, a task force would be put in place to enforce this ban while we plead with the courts in the interest of public safety and security to impose the severest of punishment under the law on any convicted manhole vandal.

  6. The indiscriminate and prolonged packing of trailers and other articulated vehicles along our streets is another environmental menace we must tackle to bring sanity to our cities and living environment.

  7. Consequently, I hereby direct the Chairmen of Port Harcourt, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor, and Oyigbo Local Government Councils to within three weeks from today impound and or remove any trailer, trucks or articulated vehicle that is packed on the streets beyond 48 hours in their respective administrative jurisdictions.

  8. As we all know, achieving effective environmental sanitation in cities and urban centres is a global challenge, and ours is not an exception.

  9. However, we are determined to improve our refuse disposal system by reviewing, overhauling, and strengthening the legal, institutional and economic framework for more effective delivery of sanitation services to residents.

  10. I urge that you bear with us for a while and things will certainly change for the better in our refuse disposal system.

  11. As an initial step towards achieving this objective, we have placed an immediate ban on the disposal of refuse on the streets or open spaces in both the old and new GRAs of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.

  12. Every household in both old and new GRAs must therefore procure and keep approved refuse disposal bins in the front of their houses to facilitate the door-to-door collection of the wastes they generate by designated contractors.

  13. We will not hesitate to revoke the certificate of occupancy of any house in these areas without a refuse disposal bin or whose occupants are caught disposing of refuse on the streets or open spaces.

  14. We have also banned the posting of advert materials of any kind, including posters, flyers, pictures, artworks, placards, or inscriptions on or under our flyovers, bridges, concrete walls, and the safety barricades along the roads.

  15. We will establish environmental marshals to enforce compliance with our sanitation laws, including this ban, by arresting and prosecuting both the person who places the advert and the person and institution on whose behalf it is placed.

  16. Fellow-citizens, we also have reason to be concerned about the operations and socially harmful activities of nightclubs within residential areas of our State.

  17. Apart from the noise and traffic nuisances suffered by innocent residents, no responsible government should continue to tolerate the open display and solicitation of sexual services, drug abuse, and public intoxication that takes place along the streets and public areas abutting some of these nightclubs, lounges, and bars by the youths, some, as young as under 14 years.

  18. Consequently, the State Government has placed an immediate ban on all nightclub activities, including night-time trading and street prostitution along Abacha road and surrounding streets to stop the harmful effect of these depraved activities on the moral development of our children and society at large.

  19. Let me also reiterate that we are as overly concerned as the public over the black soot environmental disaster that has continued to envelop Port Harcourt and upset residents for quite some time.

  20. As a State Government, we have drawn the attention of the Federal Government to this problem and requested for its intervention to stop the activities of illegal bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners, which have been identified as the main sources of the soot pandemic.

  21. Unfortunately, the Federal Government has remained inexplicably silent over our request and even complicit to a large extent with the security agencies actively aiding, encouraging, and protecting the artisanal refiners to continue with their harmful activities unabated.

  22. We have equally appealed without success to our people engaging in this illegal business to consider its negative effects on our economy, environment, public safety, and public health and disengage from it.

  23. We will continue to engage and plead with the Federal Government to intervene and save our people from this serious environmental and health emergency.

  24. However, since the federal security agencies have largely refused to stop the illegal crude oil refining activities in the State, we have no option than to take necessary measures to tackle this particular and direct challenge to our collective health and survival by ourselves.

  25. Consequently, I have directed the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council to go after all the illegal crude oil refining sites along Creek road and adjourning areas of the city and shut them down with immediate effect.

  26. Furthermore, all Local Government Chairmen are directed to work with community leaders to locate and identify those behind all illegal bunkering and crude oil refining sites in their localities and report to my office for further action.

  27. Once again, we express our sympathies to the victims of the recent fire incidences in the State, especially those who lost loved ones and valuable property.

  28. As a government, we will continue to do our best to strengthen the State Fire Service to effectively intervene to mitigate the damage during fire incidents.

  29. However, members of the public also have the responsibility to do the right thing to prevent or avoid some of these fire incidents from happening and those who deliberately bury fuel and gas tanks in residential areas are certainly not doing the right thing, and should therefore relocate their precarious businesses to more convenient and less risky places.

  30. We wish to also express our concern over the poor compliance with the existing Covid-19 protocols by citizens and the effect on the transmission of the disease in the State.

  31. Believe it or not, Covid-19 is a reality that has already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and disrupted economic activities across the world.

  32. Here in Rivers State, the transmission of the virus continues to surge daily and we all need to act together to stop the diseases from further ravaging our State.

  33. We, therefore, appeal to all residents to make themselves available for testing and vaccination whether it is for your first, second or booster jab in addition to observing the existing preventive protocols, including social distancing and wearing of face masks to reduce the level of transmission.

  34. Let me also remind all government recognized traditional rulers that they are, at all times, subject to the authority and directives of the State Government and not to other allegiances, culture, or otherwise.

  35. Therefore, the consistent absence of some first-class traditional rulers, especially the Amayanabo of Okrika, the Amayanabo of Ogu, the Amayanabo of Kalabari and the Gbenemene Nyo-Khana from participating in state functions is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.

  36. Should they, therefore, continue to absent themselves from State functions or in the regular meetings and activities of the State Traditional Rulers Council, we would have no option than to direct their immediate replacement.

  37. Finally, as the New Year 2022 inevitably beckons, we wish to assure you that we will continue to do our best to meet the aspirations of our citizens for a more peaceful, safe, and secure society throughout the Year 2022.

  38. We will continue to pursue our objectives for a stronger and more sustainable economy centred on fiscal discipline, revenue growth, job creation, and improved standard of living for all residents.

  39. We will continue to accelerate our development with the sustainable delivery of quality roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other socio-economic infrastructure and complete all ongoing development projects across the State.

  40. I wish to, once again, thank our leaders, traditional rulers, elder statesmen, party chieftains, our women, our youths, and the press for the warmth and support we have received throughout 2021.

  41. We wish to specially thank our religious leaders for their prayers for peace and progress as well as for their continuous support to our Government in the primary task of building the Rivers State of our collective dream.

  42. We remain grateful to God for the unprecedented peace, security and transformational strides the State is enjoying under our administration.

  43. But we must also be vigilant because our enemies, especially, members of the opposition, are not happy with the prevailing peace, security and unprecedented achievements we have recorded; and are therefore determined to cause crisis and disturb our peace and joy if they have the opportunity.

  44. Let us therefore prayerfully continue to place our dear State and everyone in the safe and protective Hands of God Almighty through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  45. I wish each and everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!

  46. May God continue to bless our dear Rivers State.