By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Rivers State government has pledged the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500m) to support the Sokoto State government rebuild the State’s Central market that was gutted by fire on Tuesday.
Part of the money will also be used to support victims of the devastating fire that destroyed goods worth billions of Naira.
The Rivers State governor , Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, made the pledge on behalf of the State government during a visit to the Governor of Sokoto State ,Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Wednesday.
Governor Wike, who was conducted round the destroyed market by Governor Tambuwal, said he was saddened by the devastating fire that razed over 60 percent of the 16000 shops there.
According to him, “We have come here to commiserate and sympathise with our brother, our friend and the good people of Sokoto State on what had happened to one of the biggest market in this country, the Sokoto central market.
“When I got the information last night (Wednesday), I was touched and I said as brothers, what affects you affects us. What affects Sokoto State affects Rivers State”, he said.
The Rivers State governor, who empathized with the traders over the loss of their good worth billions of Naira, thanked God that no life was lost in the disastrous inferno.
His words, “There is nothing you can equate with life. That there was no life lost, we give glory to the almighty Allah. “Having come here, I’ve seen the level of destruction, it is unfortunate. 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 added.
Governor Wike expressed appreciation to the various security and paramilitary agencies that prevented the fire from destroying the entire market.
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.
“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.
Responding, Governor Tambuwal thanked Governor Wike and the people of Rivers State for the kind gesture.
Governor Wike also paid a courtesy visit to the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar in his palace to commiserate with him over the demise of junior brother , Hon. Abdulkadir Jeli Abubakar, who was Sokoto State Commissioner for Home Affairs.
In his response, Sultan Abubakar, acknowledged the age-long relationship between Sokoto and Rivers State and lauded to Governor Wike for sustaining it.
He explained that Governor Wike’s visit and pledge to support Sokoto State is a demonstration of what Nigeria is and should be.
The Sultan further commended Governor Wike for his remarkable developmental stride in Rivers State
He said, “ I commend you and congratulate you for all what you have been doing for Rivers state in particular, because we have seen a lot of infrastructure being put in place and that is why they call you Mr project in Rivers.
“You have just some few more years, please do much more so that no body will beat you when he take over from you”, he added.
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.