The Executive director, Social Action, Ken Henshaw
The Executive Director, Social Action, Ken Henshaw says most state governors in Nigeria cannot pay salaries if the price of oil remains low for a long time because the states are not self-sustaining.
Henshew made the prediction during a radio programme monitored in Port Harcourt, while appraising the efforts of the federal and state governments in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic.
He insisted that most states in Nigeria cannot survive because they rely on allocations from the federation account.
Henshew further asserted that most of the governors are not innovative, insisting that the 13% derivation to oil producing states have been badly managed by successive governments in those states.
He noted that the extension of the lockdown in some parts of the country was worth the pains if the spread of the virus must be contained, but warned that Nigerians who depend on daily activities for livelihood could rebel if the lock down bites harder.
“About 80% of Nigerians depend on daily sources of income. This sect of people may rebel if nothing happens.”
He expressed sadness over the manner the federal government is handling the distribution of palliatives to the masses.
Despite the nation’s porous borders and ailing heath facilities, he praised the government for successfully keeping the number of infected persons low, compared to other countries.
He described efforts by Rivers State government to fight the COVID-19 as appreciatively effective, pointing out that the restriction of movements in and out of the state greatly helped to curtail the spread.
Henshaw observed that the social distancing directives has not been effective, as buses still carry four passengers in a row, while majority of the residents ignore warnings from medical experts.
He further criticized governors of the Niger delta states for poor policies and framework that would encourage large scale farming to boost food sufficiency in the region.
He observed that Rivers State depends largely on food from Northern Nigeria, said the BRACED Commission was in comatose, and has failed to come up with development blueprint that would drive the economy of the region.
Revitalizing the agricultural sector, Henshaw noted, will help to improve food supply because it is vital for human existence, and is also the largest employer of labour.
He decried the small scale farming that is practiced in the region, pointing out that such could barely meet the food needs of two states, let alone make significant impact in the global markets
In a related development, Ngozi Odukwu-Ighosevbe, Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Rivers State, has appealed to public spirited individuals and corporate organizations for more assistance to the less-privileged and vulnerable as the lockdown to fight Coronavirus pandemic continues.
She made this appeal amidst complaints of hunger by residents of Port Harcourt.
“We shouldn’t just leave it alone for government”, she appealed.
minister of state for petroleum resources
She commended efforts by the state government to fight the disease and urged the residents to comply with directives by government and health experts in order to win the battle against the disease.