Onyedi Gabriel, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has promised to donate N500m to support the Sokoto State Government rebuild the Sokoto Central market that was gutted by fire on Tuesday.
A statement signed by Wike’s Special Assistant, Kevin Ebiri, said part of the money would also be used to support victims of the devastating fire that destroyed goods worth billions of naira.
Wike made the pledge on behalf of the state government during a visit to the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday.
Wike, who was conducted round the destroyed market by Tambuwal, said he was saddened by the fire that razed over 60 per cent of the 16,000 shops.
He said, “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, I was touched and I said as brothers, what affects you affects us. What affects Sokoto State affects Rivers State.”
The governor, who empathised with the traders over the loss of their goods, thanked God that no life was lost in the inferno.
He said, “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 .”
Wike expressed his appreciation to the various security and paramilitary agencies that prevented the fire from destroying the entire market.
He pledged that the government of Rivers would support Sokoto to rebuild the market and ameliorate the plight of the traders with N500m.
“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 said.
Tambuwal thanked Wike and the people of Rivers State for the kind gesture.
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 his younger brother, 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 and lauded Wike for sustaining it.
He explained that Wike’s visit and pledge to support Sokoto was a demonstration of what Nigeria should be.
The Sultan further commended Wike for his remarkable developmental stride in Rivers.
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”.