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Road Construction Affects Traffic In Port Harcourt

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After the two day Sallah holidays, residents of Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs expected that traffic problems within the state capital would rear their ugly heads once more. The public holidays had expectedly drastically reduced the level of traffic within the metropolis.

The residents of the city did not, however, bargain that the traffic difficulties would return to the city with a bang.

The traffic wahala did not only return with a bang, it also compounded the traffic nightmare of several residents. This is because routes leading to the Port Harcourt main town and the Lagos Bus Stop, Aggrey Road and Borokiri through Azikiwe Road were completely blocked as a result of on-going rehabilitation work along the busy road.

Azikiwe Road is a major road which pushes traffic to the Government House, the State Secretariat Complex, the state House of Assembly complex, the courts including the High Courts and the Court of Appeal, the State Police Command headquarters and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Port Harcourt office among other corporate offices in the city. The strategic importance of the road is further underscored by the fact that it is a major carriage way for government business as both civil servants and government officials make use of it on a daily basis.

Hence, when work resumed in the city last Monday after the Sallah holidays, users of the road were astonished to learn that a section of the road had been closed for traffic due to a major rehabilitation work going on along it. The portion where the work was going on was completely scraped and blocked.

The residents might have been surprised because they never noticed potholes along the long stretch of road. If anything was wrong with that portion of the road, it was also not to their knowledge because it had been one of the major roads in the city where motorists had been having smooth rides. There were virtually no bumps, potholes or other terrible spots along that road.

However, the Ministry of Works, through its Honourable Commissioner, Hon. Dakuku Peterside had gone on air to explain that the road was being rehabilitated because of some structural defects in its construction, insisting that something was actually wrong with the stone base of the road.

The traffic nightmare the rehabilitation of the road caused motorists and commuters was quite unbearable as traffic along the road was diverted to Forces Avenue. It was also in realisation of this fact that the company handling the rehabilitation project apparently displayed a “sorry for the inconvenience” notice at the junction between Azikiwe Road, Abonnema Wharf and Forces Avenue.

Vehicles heading towards the Port Harcourt main town were diverted to Forces Avenue while the other lane of the road from the main town was open for traffic,

The blocking of a section of Azikiwe Road and the diversion of traffic actually placed traffic pressure on several other roads within the axis of the city.

There were serious traffic jams along Azikiwe Road, Forces Avenue, William Jumbo Road and even Moscow Road.

The traffic situation further made commuters to be stranded at various bus stops within the city as motorists particularly taxi cabs operators refused to commute stranded commuters in a desperate bid to avoid routes prune to heavy traffic jams. Those who did not understand what had happened in the early morning of Monday were surprised to see taxi drivers who refused to take passengers to William Jumbo axis of the city particularly around the motor park for vehicles heading towards Garrison, Waterlines and Rumuola junctions along the busy Aba Road.

The reason adduced by the taxi cabs operators was that the roads leading to Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH) and Moscow Road were congested with traffic. That was the first sign that all was not well with the Port Harcourt metropolis in terms of traffic flow. Sadly enough, the traffic situation has persisted till now as the rehabilitation of Azikiwe Road has continued, as residents of the city have to grapple with the problem in the coming week.

As residents of the city enter a new week, workers among them in particular are hoping that traffic difficulties they experienced last week would be mitigated. They have therefore, continued to make a passionate appeal to the Ministry of Works to ensure that the rehabilitation exercise is completed in record time to facilitate free flow of traffic again.

 

Donatus Ebi

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Edo Descendants Light Up PH

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Last Saturday in Port Harcourt was full of colour for Edo people resident in Port Harcourt.
For the second time in two years they gathered to showcase their heritage with lots of dances, singing ,eating and sharing moments together.
Last year January, they had gathered to welcome the new Oba of Benin
The event held at Randolph Hotel in Rumuobiakani witnessed a large turnout of Edo people within the city with children, young men and women adorned in Bini regalia.
President of the Edo Community in Rivers State,Chief Gregory Oriakhi said the event is geared at uniting Edo people all over the state considering the spread of Bini people across many states in the southern part of Nigeria.
Chief Oriakhi said, ” this is the first of its kind we are organising in Rivers State and we are encouraged to continue to hold the cultural day because we have Edo people in Port Harcourt, including the Ikwerre people”.
According to the President of Edo Community in Rivers State, Edo people are spread across 22 kingdoms in Rivers State and beyond, ” Benin descendants need to know ourselves and this is an event to know and bring ourselves together”.
One of the speakers at the event, Chief Ken Oku affirmed Oriakhi claim of many kingdoms in Rivers State having links with Edo lineage.
Chief Oku said, ‘ we are here in Rivers, but we are not visitors. The place you are seated falls under the influence of Benin. Iam from Ekpeye but we are sitting in our own home. It should not surprise you that you are at home and we are 16 kingdoms linked to Benin in Rivers State.
He stated that in Rivers State the Ikwerres, Ekpeye, Odual, Egbema, Ndoni, some parts of Etche and Andoni have ancestral links with Benin.
Explaining further, the Ekpeye chief submitted that as far back as the 18th century Benin had influence stretching to the coastal part of the country, especially the Niger Delta.
As the women and men danced and swinged to the Bini rhythm, the children lighted incense and clapped for their elders who are carried away by the entertainment of the day.
Most of the foods shared were purely local and many of them ate with bare hands from packaged white rice wrapped in leaves garnished with stews and fish.
Prince Oviawe Uwaifo spokesman for the community said the food were carefully selected to reflect the Bini heritage. “The local food is called Iyan vbe owo”. The dish includes boiled yam and plantain served with palm oil gravy and smoked fish.
Prince Uwaifo stressed that, “we want our children to learn and to sustain what makes us different. And that is why this cultural day has come to stay.”

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Kpofire In City Centre

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As the onslaught against illegal refineries, “Kpofire ” across Rivers State state intensifies Obio/Akpor Local Government Area seems to be uncovering more sites than others.
Even before the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike announced a price tag for each local government area that records the highest success in their domain during a meeting with the council chairmen in Government House on Wednesday, Obio/Akpor chairman, Barrister George Ariolu had been on the news for the past one week
Within the local government area about five ” kpofire” sites or artisanal refining dumps have been uncovered. Two at Iriebe two at Ogbogoro and another at Rumuosi.
The most shocking one was the one discovered in the heart of new Government Reserved Area(GRA) bordering Eligbam and Rumueme communities.
The premises which has since been sealed by the council authorities after it was discovered sits close to residential area and has been under guise for many months before reports reached the authorities.
A resident of the area who pleaded anonymity told The Tide ,” we only see trucks come in and leave daily and we thought that it was a construction site or a company warehouse.”
Recently however, Barrister Ariolu’s breakthrough had pitched him against officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSDC) at their dumpsite at Ogbogoro.
Officials of the security agency had resisted the chairman and his team when he came to confirm whether their dumpsite was used by illegal refinery operators as cover up.
The chairman had on reaching the dump site alerted newsmen of the alleged deals and cover ups the “Kpofire ” operators use the security operatives for their illegal business.
But the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rivers State Command has debunked the claims of the council chairman.
In a statement it released after video of the chairman’s visit were displayed on social media, the agency said the site located at NSCDC Jetty, Ogbogoro community in Obio-Akpor local government area, was not a bunkery site.
Briefing newsmen at the NSCDC Jetty Ogbogoro, the State Commandant, Aliyu Bature, said that the place in question is their Marine exhibit yard where arrested suspected oil thieves and illegal petroleum products are paraded.
The Assistant Commandant of the corps, Michael Oguntuase, who spoke on behalf of the State Commandant, said the exhibits in the dump site were arrested by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to them, while some of the arrests were also made by the NSCDC Anti-Vandal Team pending forfeiture.
“This place is our marine exhibits yard and not an illegal dump. The entire press team in the state can attest to the fact that this place is our exhibit Jetty.
The commandant general was here in December 2021, and he is aware that this place is our exhibits yard. Those saying this place is a bunkery site are not current, because if they were, they should have known before now that we bring pressmen to this yard to parade suspect and illegal products.”
Reacting also on the rumoured conspiracy plan by some hoodlums to destroy the NSCDC exhibit dump yard, the Commandant emphasized that such plans will be strongly resisted, in order to secure the exhibits.
“We want the public to be rest assured that these exhibits are secured, any form of conspiracy to damage these exhibits will be met with stiff resistance.
“The Commandant General has deployed personnel to ensure the place is secured, Ogbogoro jetty is a no go area for anybody, because destroying this place means destroying the exhibits to prove that these products were all stolen. We had it on good authority that hoodlums were planning to attack this place in order to destroy the exhibits and we will not allow that.”
He, however, urged the public to report any NSCDC officer involved in the business of oil theft as the Corps will not hesitate to show such person the way out.
“If any of our personnel is caught, please report the person to us and we will discipline the person accordingly.
The NSCDC leadership does not in anyway condone acts of indiscipline.
“We are charged to protect critical national assets and if any of our personnel is involved we will not take it lightly. That is why those who were in charge of the anti vandal unit have been disbanded. And the committee set up to investigate them is ongoing.”

By: Stories by Kevin Nengia

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Rivers, A Global Investment Hub

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Nothing could be more elusive and desirous as the special skills and talent of a wand and a midas touch. Dr Freeman O’ Freeman is one the few possessive of this rare gift. He has a penchant for the reorganization of ailing industries, organizations and institutions. The foremost technocrat and consultant was recently spotted by the Port Harcourt Metro at a public function in the Garden city. When his attention was sought for an interview he willingly obliged an the session was a deep insight into his experience especially his years of consultancy services with the Rivers state Government in the  early 1990s. During these period he recalled that 14 parastalals and government agencies including the three state owned media Houses were under his consultancy services for full reorganisation process. “We made the State Electricity Board to be the highest revenue earner after the Ministry of finance, we also made the staffs of Water Board, Super Board, and Rivers Marine to earn their salary after the reorganization processes, some of the moribond companies can still be revived.”  He said Rivers state was deeply blessed with potentials to host the business world through flourishing business activities, nothing that most black Americans business moguls were looking for opportunities of investing their wealth and knowledge. Dr Freeman who is also and author and religious counsellor emphasized the need for proper restructuring of the Nigerian state to address the needs and imperatives of justice in the country. He canvassed for the creation of a state owned insurance company to secure the wealth and investments of  Rivers state. “ Rivers state is global investment hub, their is need to decongest Lagos by tapping into the enormous investment potentials in Rivers state, it’s quite unfortunate that investments of Rivers state government are easing out without full privileges to the state government, despite hosting two federal terminals economic activities in the state is still low. I want the Rivers state government to reap the benefit of insurance before Governor Wike leaves office, it will count for him as one his greatest legacies for Rivers people. Commenting on the prevalence of ethno religious crisis in the country, he pointed out the very custodians of religious faith were the propellers of the evolving Crisis. “it’s very unfortunate that people don’t practice what they preach, the much resources in the hands of the ministers should be redirected for the interest of the followers, the early missionaries gave education virtually free. Ministers should allow their members to have leveraging access to their schools, this will reduced the loads of poor parents and help in producing an informed and better society”. With a deep sense of concern, he urged the federal government to address the growing spate of insecurity in country, particularly the “ incautious activities of herders.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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