Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has warned LG chairmen not to borrow money without his permission.
He issued the warning on Thursday to newly sworn-in LG chairmen. Mr Wike gave the warning shortly after the newly elected chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state took the oath of office at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor stated that the caution was necessary to stem unguarded desires of 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,” said Mr Wike. “This is to ensure that others who will take over from you will not suffer because of your indebtedness.”
He also charged the council chairmen to pay attention to security issues to stem likely security breaches in their various councils.
Mr Wike particularly urged them to establish robust working relationships with divisional police officers and the traditional rulers in their areas and ensure regular security meetings.
“Stay in your council areas. Don’t stay in hotels and Port Harcourt. If you are not home, how do you know about the security situation in your local government? Security is key,“ the governor advised.
He urged the chairmen to hold a security council meeting weekly or at least once every two weeks for proper briefing, warning them against embarking on needless travels outside the state and the country without notifying him.
He also encouraged them 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.
Mr Wike expressed concern over the worsening sanitary conditions in Obio-Akpor, Port Harcourt City, Eleme, and Oyigbo, imploring the council chairmen 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.
“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.