The ban placed by the Rivers State Government on the operations of motorcycles popularly known as Okada in Port Harcourt City and its environs has created the opportunity for tricycle also known as Keke Napep to creep into the transportation system of the state. Keke Napep was introduced by the Federal Government during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to check poverty among Nigerians.
However, the influence of the vehicle was not felt so much in the state until recently when the State Government banned the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation in the city of Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and other local government areas.
Some in the city have described Keke Napep as a substitute to Okada in the city. This is against the background that the vehicles now ply those routes that were used by motorcycles in those days.
Apart from plying the narrow routes, Keke Napep can be seen in major roads in the city such as Ada George, Agip, Abacha road, Elioparanwo, NTA, Mgbuoba road amongst others.
However, the Rivers State Government has also banned the operation of the vehicle in Port Harcourt City and its environs.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Traffic Matters, Engineer Ronald Odoyi, who announced the ban on behalf of the state government said that the system is not needed in Port Harcourt.
Engr. Odoyi said that the situation was necessitated by the need to save the city from environmental pollution that will be caused by gaseous emission by the vehicle.
According to him, tricycle and motorcycles have similar kinds of engines that are environmentally unfriendly in a big city like Port Harcourt.
The Special Adviser also blamed the resurgence in heavy traffic congestion across the city on the operation of Keke Napep.
However, since the announcement, more and more Keke Napeps are being seen daily in the city. The announcement is not also going down well with some sections of the society who see it as a ploy by the government towards further impoverishing the people of the state.
Some of those who spoke to The Tide On Sunday on the issue said that the state government has no reason to ban Keke Napep in the city since the system is now a source of income to many families in the state and beyond.
They also pointed out that the scarcity of taxis in the city is enough reason for the vehicles to operate.
In his view, Mr. Goodluck Bare said that Keke Napep is more accessible to people than buses and taxis.
“Keke Napep is preferred by people because of its easy movement. It moves faster than taxis and buses due to its size.
“It is tinier than others and so can easily manoeuvre its way through traffic jam”.
For Mr. Jolomie, a taxi driver, Keke Napep hastens movement. He added that despite the high patronage by people, it does not affect his business.
In his words: “People prefer Keke Napep to other means of transportation because it is a government project to eradicate poverty and that is why well meaning Nigerians appreciate it.
“They appreciate those youths who have taken to Keke Napep instead of remaining idle”.
In her view, Mrs Margaret Dodo said that the vehicle has boosted productivity in the state as it hasten movement.
Also speaking, Miss Ifeoma said that she prefers Keke Napep anyday, any time to buses because of its comfortability. While Mr. Wale who is a dealer in the vehicle said that people prefer the vehicle because it is safer to move with.
However, for Mr. Geoffrey Joe, a Civil Servant, “it is dangerous to travel with the vehicle since it is not balanced”.
Having examined the reactions of the public on the issue, it is now pertinent to note that Keke Napep, with its three wheels is too fragile to be used on major roads in the state as it can turnover.
The issue of pollution as raised by the Special Adviser must also be critically examined.
If the condition of roads in Port Harcourt City at the moment is anything to go by, the vehicle is not suitable for transportation in the city.
Elizabeth Ephraim Edi George
Rivers, A Global Investment Hub
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
Wife Battery: Man Forced To Undertaken By In-laws
In a bid to restore the marriage of a certain couple in Port Harcourt, ( names withheld) the family members and parents of the wife has forced the husband to an undertaken that he will no longer used their daughter as a punch bag. The Port Harcourt Metro gathered the parents of the wife are relatively well to do very supportive to the upkeep of their daughters family. Their intervention came as a result of repeated cases of physical and psychological abuses of their daughter by her husband. It was also gathered that the parents of the wife had made moves to terminate the relationship to secure the life of their daughter but she bluffed their moves and stuck to the marriage based on her professed love for the husband. The husband was said to have been invited to an intense family session during which he was asked to sign an undertaken to be of good conduct and act as a responsible man or gets his wife forfeited. The session became dramatic when the repentant husband and in-law was said to have broken down in tears , with confessions that he was always propelled by some incontrollable forces to act the way he did.
By: Taneh Beemene
Group Plans Grassroots Medical Campaign
As part of measures of promoting effective medical care at the grassroots, a body under the auspices of Medical Xray and Imaging Technicians Association of Nigeria says plans has been put in place for mass sensitisation on the need for greater access to medical services at the rural areas. National President of the body, Rev Akiene Nunyor who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the sensitisation was targeted at rousing the sensitivities of critical stakeholders towards improving health care at the rural areas as well as creating awareness among the rural dwellers. He pointed out that the absence of ultra sound facilities at rural communities was responsible for high mortality among pregnant women in rural communities, as they lacked access to the facilities. Its difficult for women to go for scan exercises for proper medical check at the rural areas. In times of emergencies before they get to the urban areas that have the facilities it becomes late. He called for a synergy between the private sector and government especially in the area of research, training and manpower development in the health sector, He assured that the body was ready to provide the professional regulatory services for middle manpower development and standards in medical practice. While commending the Rivers state Government for its efforts in promoting care in the state he called for a “ Public/ Private sector driven “approach in promoting effective health sector delivery.
By: Taneh Beemene
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