Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Thursday warned newly sworn-in Chairmen of Local Government Areas in the state againt borrowing money from financial institutions without state government’s approval.
Wike gave the warning shortly after the newly elected chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state took their oath of office at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor stated that the caution was necessary to stem unguarded desires of some council chairmen to access money without any development plan.
“Before you borrow money, the state must know what you want to use it for, and how you will pay it back.
This is to ensure that others who will take over from you will not suffer because of your indebtedness,” he said.
He also charged the council chairmen to pay proper attention to issues of security, in order to stem likely security breaches in their various councils.
Wike particularly urged them to establish robust working relationship with the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and the traditional rulers in their areas as well as ensure regular security meetings.
“Stay in your council areas; don’t stay in hotels and in Port Harcourt. If you are not home, how do you know about the security situation in your local government? Security is key,“ he said.
The governor urged the council chairmen to ensure that they held security council meeting weekly or at least once in every two weeks for proper briefing.
He warned them against embarking on needless travels outside the state and the country without notifying the state government.
He also encouraged them to work to strengthen the unity of the party in their various councils, consult widely with party leaders over appointments and other issues to give everybody a sense of belonging.
Wike expressed concern over the worsening sanitary conditions in the communities, particularly in Obio-Akpor, Port Harcourt City, Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas.
He charged the council chairmen to work assiduously to regularly evacuate refuse dumped on major roads in their local government areas.
He revealed that the state government prevented the former chairmen whose tenure ended on Wednesday from paying local government workers’ salaries.
The governor said the measure taken was due to security reports and complaints by some councillors and political appointees over fears that their entitlements would not be paid.
“So, I decided to suspend the payment of local government workers and political appointees, to allow the newly sworn- in chairmen to pay them without any crisis whatsoever,” the governor said.
He said the state government would set up a committee to oversee the payment of all entitlements of immediate past chairmen, their political appointees and councilors.