Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has pledged his administration’s readiness to partner with youths in the state to improve governance.
The governor made this known when the Delta Caucus in the House of Representatives, led by the Minority Leader, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, paid him a solidarity visit on Wednesday, at Government House, Asaba.
He thanked the lawmakers for the visit and for always identifying with the state government and the people in difficult times, recalling that the caucus took similar steps during the critical period of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
He said the government will ensure that it communicates regularly with the youths to prevent misinformation which could lead to further break down of law and order.
Okowa appealed to the youths to continue to assist the government and security agencies to ensure that criminal elements in the society are not allowed to succeed in their acts.
He said that the state had, after COVID-19 challenges, been contending with issues associated with flooding in some areas before the ENDSARS protests set in.
The governor said that the protests were peaceful and that the state government gave a voice to it because it believed that the youths who set out to protest had a reason and their voice needed to be listened to.
“Here in Delta State, we noticed on Tuesday, that there are infiltrations from outside the state into the #ENDSARS protesters and we did draw the attention of their influencers to watch very closely, because their protest was gradually being hijacked.
“On Wednesday, that was also noticed and the crisis had started in Lagos,” he said.
He, however, commended security agencies for their professionalism in tackling the crisis in Delta.
According to Okowa, “it was a very difficult situation to manage, but today we thank God that we have been able to manage it.
“Unfortunately, few people lost their lives – one in the Warri area who was knocked down by a truck, obviously not belonging to the police, and one person in Sapele.
“Another ugly incident that would have taken place was the issue of palliative looting, but luckily that was managed because there was nothing to loot.
“The CA-COVID items were delivered to us in September, and soon as it was launched, we ensured that within two weeks it was distributed to all 270 wards in the state.
“It was specifically meant for the very indigent in every ward; so 179 families in every ward received the items as specified by CA-COVID and every single thing has been distributed.
“A large crowd gathered around the Event Centre, but we opened it for them to see that it was empty. So, we thank God for that”.
He commended community youths in the state for their commitment towards preventing further destruction across the state, and disclosed that he would hold town-hall meetings in Warri and Asaba with a selected group of youths.
He said that the meeting would provide a platform for the government “to talk with some of our youths, continue to engage them, continue to make them understand that working together in partnership, we can improve the governance structure.
To the lawmakers, Okowa said “I want to specifically thank you people for this visit and to thank you especially for the promise that you have made in the repairs of the High Court building.
“I thank you and wish to appreciate this visit, and I am sure that all Deltans do appreciate your concern and we pray that God will continue to enable you to perform your duties to the admiration of your constituents.”
Earlier, Elumelu said that the lawmakers were on a solidarity visit to empathise with the governor and the people of the state over the unfortunate destruction of public buildings by hoodlums during the #ENDSARS protests.
He announced the donation of N150 million by members of the caucus to support the re-building of the burnt High Court in Asaba.
The Caucus also visited the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Marshall Umukoro, over the unfortunate incident.
Umukoro thanked the legislators for the visit, adding that the destruction of the court building, which was recently rehabilitated and equipped, had set the state back by 28 years.
High point of the visit was an inspection tour of all the destroyed structures in Asaba.