PORT HARCOURT/Nigeria: A Port Harcourt based youth organisation, Rivers Renaissance, has faulted the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, on his inability to address the myriad of challenges facing the State including having the highest unemployment status in the country and Port Harcourt now world most polluted city, describing the trend as Wike government admission of failure.
The group in a statement signed by its President General, Dr. Dokubo Dan-Tamuno, in Port Harcourt said recent reports indicate that Rivers State unemployment rate is very alarming and, more so, that Port Harcourt has become the world most polluted city with an Air Quality Index of 188.
The group’s investigation revealed that most Rivers people are already suffering from different diseases as a result of the adverse effects of breathing in the soot that pervades the air in Port Harcourt city and environs, accentuating the failure of this government in the last six years to protect the lives of Rivers people.
“The State Government, itself, has admitted in a report published in the Guardian Newspaper that over 23,000 people suffer various degrees of respiratory related diseases due to government inability to provide focussed political leadership to cushion ravaging effect of soot in the lives of the people,” Dr. Dan-Tamuno stated.
Rivers Renaissance added that the state governor, Nyesom Wike, is obviously bereft of ideas on tackling these challenges, hence resorting to blame games and blackmail at every slightest opportunity.
“The governor cannot give what he doesn’t have. It’s very obvious that the twin challenges of unemployment and pollution are beyond his capacity. There is really no need for him to resort to blackmail and blame game. He should declare an emergency in these critical sectors and consult widely with critical stakeholders on a pragmatic approach to addressing these challenges.”
“All the governor has done is pass the blame to the federal government and we ask, if the matter is for the federal government alone to solve, why does the state government still have a ministry of environment? What is the job of the Rivers State Ministry of Environment?” Dr. Dan-Tamuno queried.
The group further noted that the governor’s inability to implement a report of the 20-man committee it set up to investigate the causal factor of the soot is even an aberration and this has failed Rivers people woefully.
The group while highlighting the danger of inaction against this social crisis disclosed that the US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, report assert that the soot microscopic particles can penetrate deep into lungs and have been linked with a wide range of serious health effects including premature death, heart attack, stroke, acute bronchitis, cancer and aggravated asthma in both children and in the aged with compromised health status. Rivers Renaissance called on the governor, as a matter of urgency, to seek wisdom where necessary and address the challenge immediately.