By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Saturday approved special financial intervention for development of schools handed over to churches by the state government.
Wike announced this at an interactive session with religious leaders in Port Harcourt.
He said the state government took the decision after it discovered that most of the schools returned to missionary owners were in various stages of disrepair.
The governor also announced the establishment of an economic development fund for church members in the state.
“This economic development fund will assist church members with health and business challenges to get back to their feet.
“This is like a social scheme that will assist indigent church members in these trying times, and not a fund meant to build churches, but an empowerment for less privileged members.
“I have also directed the Commissioner for Education and the Special Adviser on Religious Matters to liaise with owners of missionary schools to work out modalities for the intervention scheme,” he said.
Wike charged the church leaders to present a united front as they work toward creating the right environment for upgrade of the schools.
He attributed the current peace in the state to prayers of clergymen who supported the work by security agencies.
The governor urged church leaders to pray for free and fair conduct of both national and state legislative elections.
Wike said the state Ministry of Finance had credited salaries and pensions to bank accounts of workers captured late in the biometric exercise.
Earlier, Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, lauded Wike for development of the state.