Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has declared a state of emergency in six sectors of the state he described as critical.
The affected sectors, according to the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu, are security, education, infrastructure, investment, climate change, and pension payment.
Kanu who briefed journalists at the end of the State Executive Council meeting presided over by the governor on Monday, said the state government has mapped out several strategies to deal with issues affecting the sectors including the launch of “Operation Crush” to deal with insecurity in the state.
The Commissioner added that the governor has also approved the “Lighting Up Abia Initiative” which involves lighting up the major streets of Umuahia, Aba, and other cities of the state.
“This initiative also involves cutting the bushes within the expressway median lane from Okigwe gate into the state, while street lights will be installed to light up the axis,” Kanu said.
“The executives have also put in place, the ‘Reclaim Our Schools Initiative’ to underscore the premium the state government has on education, by harvesting support from highly placed individuals, stakeholders and international agencies to finance education from the primary to tertiary levels in the state.”
On the traditional institutions in the state, Kanu said following the increase in the traditional rulers’ allowances from 3% to 5% in the state by Otti’s administration, the royal fathers will start receiving their allowances from next week, while also affirming the state government’s commitment to the payment of outstanding pension arrears.
On the emergency status in the education sector, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eme, who also spoke at the press briefing said the level of dilapidation of schools in the state is unimaginable, pointing out that the state government have concluded plans to “plant in each local government, new primary and secondary schools.”
“Host communities of such schools would be incorporated for the security of the schools under community-based initiative where the communities would own the school.
“Government wants to collaborate with private schools to achieve better education and ensure that public schools are redeemed and returned to their former glory, and to galvanise the communities to be alive to their corporate social responsibility,” Eme added.