TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has inaugurated the state task force for the recovery of government property, with a charge to members to work diligently for the state.
Inaugurating the committee yesterday, Governor Wike said several permanent secretaries and top civil servants have retired from service, but were still illegally occupying government quarters.
He noted that several attempts to ensure that they vacate government quarters, so that serving officers can reside in such houses have met with resistance from the retired senior civil servants.
“You are by this inauguration required to recover all government properties illegally occupied by some persons.
“There are many civil servants who have retired from service, but are still occupying government buildings several years after retirement. This has made it difficult for those in service to have official quarters allocated to them,” he said.
The governor told the members of the task force that they would face challenges while carrying out their responsibilities. He advised them to be firm.
He assured that the state government would provide the required security and logistical support for them to carry out their functions.
Governor Wike said that some top civil servants have gone as far as taking illegal measures to own government properties.
He noted that in some block of flats, some have gone to illegally acquire Certificate of Occupancy.
“If you are a civil servant, you already know when you are to retire. Therefore, you have to plan for retirement.
“It is regrettable that some civil servants even fail to maintain government buildings where they reside. Do this assignment diligently. Except there is a clear court order, recover government buildings that have been illegally occupied,” he said.
The governor also charged the task force to locate government lands that have been illegally occupied and recover same.
Responding, Chairman of the task force, Rufus Godwins, appreciated Governor Wike for the confidence reposed in the members to carry out the important responsibility.
Godwins, who is also the Head of Service, assured the governor that the task force would locate, identify and recover all government property illegally occupied.
He said, where the task force meets resistance, it would recommend prosecution of the affected persons to the office of the Attorney General of Rivers.